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Arsenal target former Barcelona star Alex Grimaldo

Benfica defender Alex Grimaldo

Bengaluru, February 8: Arsenal are thought to be in pole position to sign highly-rated Benfica defender Alex Grimaldo, according to reports.

A number of top clubs including Manchester City, Napoli and Inter Milan have all been linked with the Spanish left-back who was formerly in the books of Barcelona. However, Arsenal and Atletico Madrid are the two frontrunners for the bombarding left full-back as per reports in spain.

The Gunners are said to be weighing up an offer for Grimaldo, 23, which could involve his compatriot Nacho Monreal moving in the opposite direction.

Meanwhile, Atletico are in the market for a new left-back with Filipe Luis out of contract in the summer and Lucas Hernandez linked with an exit.

Arsenal boss Unai Emery wants to bring in at least five players but will have just £40million to spend this summer if the club miss out on a Champions League spot which seems quite possible.

Emery reportedly also wants two wingers, a couple of full-backs and at least one centre-back in the summer. Even with a top-four finish, Emery's budget would only be about £60million which might still not be enough.

Benfica want about £26m for Grimaldo and it is that price-tag which stopped him joining Napoli last summer which means they will demand at least more than that.

Atletico believe they can land him for a cut-price fee, while Arsenal would also look to negotiate a cheaper fee.

Grimaldo came through Barcelona's famed La Masia academy and left Barca B for Benfica in 2016. He has scored five goals and set up four more in the Portuguese league and Champions League this season. And the defender, who represented Spain at youth level, looks to have a bright future.

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    Story first published: Friday, February 8, 2019, 11:39 [IST]
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