Manchester United involved in race for £18 million Benfica fullback


Manchester United have a fight on their hands to sign Alex Grimaldo from Benfica. The £18 million-rated fullback is a player Jose Mourinho is interested in, according to reports, to strengthen his squad after playing the season so far without a recognised left-back in the squad. Matteo Darmian, Daley Blind, and Ashley Young have played in this position, the latter being the only one to play in the position regularly. Luke Shaw is fit, the fittest player in the squad apparently, yet cannot get a game for Mourinho’s side.

Benfica have given Mourinho the green-light to make a move for the 22-year-old, but he will have to fight off Napoli, who are also keen on the player, in order to get his man. It is suggested that Shaw, Blind and Darmian are surplus to requirements and could leave the Theatre of Dreams either during the January transfer window, or in the summer as Mourinho seeks to assemble a side capable of dealing with the vigours of the season, fighting in four competitions being the major one, injury being the other.

Mourinho has faith in Young, but at 32, he is not a long-term option, neither is Antonio Valencia on the right, but United have Timothy Fosu-Mensah, on loan at Crystal Palace and even Axel Tuanzebe, who has played in that position for the club during the 2016/17 season. Grimaldo is highly rated, coming from Barcelona’s La Masia academy and since his move to Benfica in 2015, has become a key player in the squad. Benfica chief executive Domingos Oliveria, whilst speaking to IB Times UK, stated:

“All of the Benfica players have a certain market. Now you have some differences, the oldest guy we have in the team is Julio Cesar who is 38 years old and youngest is Miles Svilar who is 18.

“The players with over 30 years, it is difficult to transfer them although for example Jonas, our best striker, when we hired him he was already 30.

“But for a player who is 25, 26, 27, or younger at 22, 23, 24, there is a huge market.

“I am not talking specifically about Grimaldo, but all players with those conditions, they have a market.

“We do not want to close the door to anyone. We don’t want to force them to stay here. We want them to stay as long as they can.

“And while they are here they are happy, but once both parties agree on a transfer, usually the player leaves but as mentioned before, leave with a good relationship with the club.”

United have been scouting Benfica for some time now, nobody knowing exactly who the club have been scouting. This could be plausible, especially with United needing strength in the fullback area, especially the left-back role, Grimaldo could be a player the club have been scouting, but he is not the only one with goalkeeper Mile Svilar a player United have registered an interest in, despite the two gaffes whilst playing against United in the UEFA Champions League this season. Could Alex Grimaldo be the guy Manchester United are looking for? Watch this space…

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