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Arsenal, Newcastle United ‘to battle for Alex Grimaldo in January’

Arsenal, Newcastle United ‘to battle for Alex Grimaldo in January’

Arsenal and Newcastle United are reportedly ready to battle one another for the signature of Benfica left-back Alex Grimaldo in January.

The 26-year-old has entered the final year of his contract with the Portuguese giants, who were expected to sanction a cut-price sale in the summer transfer window.

However, Grimaldo has remained on the books at Benfica, who are at risk of losing the Spaniard on a free transfer at the end of the season.

Grimaldo will be free to negotiate a pre-contract agreement with foreign clubs from January, or alternatively, interested parties could try to strike a deal for a nominal fee over the winter.

Arsenal were linked with a move for Grimaldo in the summer before moving for Oleksandr Zinchenko, but TuttoJuve claims that the Gunners still hold an interest in the Spaniard.

Alex Grimaldo in action for Benfica in December 2018© Reuters

Mikel Arteta currently has Kieran Tierney and Zinchenko as his left-back options, with Nuno Tavares joining Marseille on a season-long loan, but Grimaldo’s versatility could appeal to his compatriot.

The ex-Barcelona youngster is capable of featuring further up the field on the left-hand side and has even deputised in central midfield – an area where Arsenal are short – on a handful of occasions.

However, should the Gunners want to win the race for Grimaldo’s signature, the report adds that they will have to fend off interest from Newcastle and Juventus in January.

The Magpies made Matt Targett‘s loan deal permanent in the summer transfer window, while Juve also boosted their left-back ranks with the acquisition of Filip Kostic from Eintracht Frankfurt.

Massimiliano Allegri could be on the lookout for a new left-back if Alex Sandro departs the club on a free transfer at the end of the season, which would open up space for Grimaldo to join.

Newcastle United manager Eddie Howe holds the ball on April 8, 2022© Reuters

Benfica are supposedly willing to accept a fee of €10m (£8.8m) to part ways with Grimaldo in the January transfer window, and Juve chiefs will keep a close eye on the left-back when Benfica take on the Old Lady in Wednesday’s Champions League tie.

Grimaldo left Barcelona’s youth ranks in January 2016 to sign for Benfica, where he has amassed 20 goals and 52 assists from 259 appearances across all tournaments.

The former Spain Under-21 international came up with six goals and nine assists in 48 outings during the 2021-22 season, and he has started all 10 of his side’s games this season amid speculation surrounding his future.

Grimaldo scored the second of his side’s two goals in a 2-0 Champions League success over Maccabi Haifa on Tuesday in Group H, and he has won three Primeira Liga titles, one Taca de Portugal, one Taca da Liga and three Supertaca Candido de Oliveira crowns in the past six-and-a-half years.

Barcelona were also linked with a move for Grimaldo last month, but the Catalan giants passed up on signing their former youth product in favour of Marcos Alonso.

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