Arsenal have been tipped as favourites to sign Benfica full-back Alex Grimaldo, according to reports in Spain.
The Gunners are currently undergoing a major defensive injury crisis. The likes of Sokratis Papastathopoulos, Rob Holding and Hector Bellerin have all picked up nasty looking injuries and could be out for substantial periods. Hence, reinforcements are a must if the club want to stand a chance of winning anything next season.
Grimaldo, who primarily plays as a left-back, seems to be a perfect signing for them. The Spaniard has been a steady rock at the back and a versatile option going forward for Benfica this season. He is one of the first names on the team sheet, and has made a total of 35 appearances this season. He has also managed to score 6 goals and assist 5 of them along the way.
Grimaldo graduated from Barcelona’s esteemed youth academy, La Masia. He moved to Benfica three years ago, in the winter window of 2016. His fee at the time as a paltry €2 million, but Arsenal know that Benfica will demand at least ten times that amount to sell him.
According to reports, Benfica have slapped a price tag of around €28 million on the defender. While Arsenal are in desperate need of a defender, the price may prove to be a bit of a bother.
The Gunners are currently, in layman’s terms, broke. A shocking lack of funds due to their owner’s refusal to contribute a single penny has left them very restricted when it comes to spending. The club’s failure to qualify for this season’s Champions League had a massive impact on their transfer budget as well. The €79 million they spent in the summer meant they had nothing left for January. Denis Suarez’s loan deal was all they could afford.
At the moment, Arsenal lie 5th in the Premier League table. They somehow managed to surrender an 11 point advantage over a resurgent Manchester United, who have now overtaken them to go 4th. Reports suggest that should Arsenal fail to qualify for the Champions League yet again, they will be stuck with a budget of just €45 million to spend in the summer.
Signing Grimaldo for €28 million will take away half of that budget. However, it may be a signing they must make. 33-year-old Nacho Monreal is the only other option at left-back. Sead Kolasinac can play there too. A lack of competition for places could mean trouble once injuries start to pile up, though.
Clubs such as Inter Milan, Atletico Madrid, Napoli and rivals Manchester City are all interested. Hence, Arsenal will face a fight for his signature. It is a battle that they must win though, so rumors that they are favourites to do so will be very encouraging to their fans.