Man United join Man City in Grimaldo chase

According to reports from The Daily Mail, Manchester United are lining up a transfer swoop for Benfica left-back Alex Grimaldo.

What’s the word?

Grimaldo is hot property at the moment. Last month, Mais Futebol reported on Pep Guardiola’s clandestine mission to scout the former Barcelona defender, in which he allegedly took a private jet to watch Benfica beat Braga before returning in time for Manchester City’s training session the next morning. It’s claimed he even bought tickets personally, instead of putting City as representatives on the official list of clubs scheduled to send scouts.

Now it’s Manchester United’s turn to be linked with Grimaldo, aged 21. According to The Mail, who also mention City’s interest, Red Devils scouts watched the left-back net a curling free kick in a 4-0 win over Feirense on Sunday evening. It’s further claimed that United are ‘lining up a move’ for Grimaldo, whose contract includes a staggering £51million buyout fee.

Do United need a left back?

With Aleksandar Kolarov and Gael Clichy both the wrong side of 30, City’s interest in Grimaldo follows an obvious logic. Manchester United, on the other hand, already boast a £30million left-back in Luke Shaw as well as a more than capable back-up option in utility man, Daley Blind. Even if both were injured, Marcos Rojo, Matteo Darmian or even Ashley Young could fill the void – although none appear to be part of Jose Mourinho’s long-term plans.

That being said, Blind is sometimes required in other areas – mainly centre-half – and Shaw’s injuries are becoming a concern – he’s been sidelined over the last few weeks. Mourinho also criticised the England international following a 3-1 defeat to Watford, so perhaps the Portuguese tactician is in the market for an alternative.

Is he any good?

We haven’t seen too much of Grimaldo – he only made the permanent transition to first-team football upon moving to Benfica in January this year. But the youngster is blessed with all the natural talent you’d expect of a La Masia product and his Primeira Liga form this season has been fantastic. Here’s how he compares to Shaw and some of the other best left-backs in the business, courtesy of Squawka: