Newcastle United have been linked with a move for Benfica full-back Alex Grimaldo this week. While the source of this rumour may not have fans exactly holding the door open in expectation, there’s no doubt that Newcastle United boss Eddie Howe has seen what the left-back is capable of.
The Mirror are being credited in many circles as the source of this transfer rumour. However, it was in fact Italian outlet TuttoJuve who reported Newcastle’s interest in the Spanish U-21 international.
They claim that Juventus are keen on a January deal for the player, but will face competition from Newcastle and Premier League rivals Arsenal.
With the 26-year-old’s contract length reported to be dwindling down, he would even be available at a cut-price €10 million (£8.7m).
Newcastle got to witness first-hand just what the former Barcelona prospect can do during pre-season. The Magpies took on Benfica in the Eusébio Cup back in July. Despite a brace from Miguel Almiron, Howe’s men went down 3-2 to the Portuguese giants. Benfica striker Goncalo Ramos impressed in that game, leading to several links with the striker throughout the summer.
But Grimaldo scored the second of As Águias’ goals that day, hitting a superb curling free-kick beyond the despairing dive of Nick Pope.
What did Eddie Howe say about Grimaldo’s free-kick goal?
Speaking to NUFC TV after the game, Howe could not hide his appreciation for the effort.
“It was a Premier League game in terms of standard. I thought the players were excellent,” he said of the game.
“Yes we conceded three goals, two from set-plays. One was a worldie free-kick – you can’t do a lot about that.”
At that price, Grimaldo would be an absolute bargain for Newcastle United. While Matt Targett arrived permanently this summer, there is a lack of depth in the position at St James’ Park. Jamal Lewis has struggled since his arrival and the club is growing out of club stalwart Paul Dummett.
Newcastle United fans should not expect a deal just yet
However, Newcastle fans will take the rumour with a pinch of salt. Since the takeover, every player potentially on the move appears to have found themselves linked with a Toon switch.
On top of that, Grimaldo will no doubt be on the radar of other teams, such as Juventus, or even his first club Barca.
But fans can certainly watch the free-kick over and over again and wonder if Kieran Trippier might have some dead-ball competition arriving in the winter.