Alex Grimaldo: Benfica chief Rui Costa puts skids on Arsenal’s move for attacking left-back

Alex Grimaldo Benfica March 2022

Arsenal’s protracted move for defender Alex Grimaldo is not as advanced as reports have suggested with Benfica president Rui Costa insisting there has been no bid.

The Spanish full-back is understood to have been on the radar of Mikel Arteta all summer. The Gunners are believed to be interested in upgrading their options at left-back with Nuno Tavares a likely casualty.

And according to A Bola earlier this weekArsenal upped the ante and made an official bid for the defender.

Arsenal chief Edu apparently offered £6.4m (€7m) for the La Masia graduate and was awaiting news from the Portuguese club.

However, that talk has been rejected by former Portugal star Costa, who is the figurehead of the Lisbon club.

Benfica are currently in England on a week-long training camp. And Costa has flown in to join up with the 38-man squad at St George’s Park. He wasn’t in town long before he was quizzed about the club’s transfer business.

The Eagles are expecting some new arrivals in the next month or so.

“We must keep working because the market is still open. The competitions start soon, we still have a lot to do,” said Costa, who was then asked about Grimaldo.

“I’m going to talk to him now, see if he’s okay,” Costa said about Grimaldo’s situation, as quoted by Portuguese outlet Mais Futebol, via The Mirror. “Grimaldo is like all the other players, he is working and in time we will…”

At that point, Costa was interrupted by another reporter to see if Arsenal had made a bid.

“You [the press] have been saying that,” he replied. “None of this came to me. I don’t know where that came from.”

Grimaldo offers attacking threat

Grimaldo, 26, has entered the final year of his existing deal and a number of outlets have touted Arsenal as interested suitors.

It seems Edu though has yet to lodge a formal offer for the player, who graduated at Barcelona’s famous La Masia.

The player is rumoured to be hunting for a step up. He has won three Primeira Liga titles since joining Benfica in January 2016. However, no silverware since 2019 has led Grimaldo to looking for a new challenge.

Arteta currently has two senior left-backs to choose from – Kieran Tierney and Tavares. And while there are suggestions Tavares is not seen as up to the level, Tierney certainly is.

But the Scottish international’s injury problems are a concern for Arteta. The former Celtic man missed the final two months of the season after knee surgery and Arteta wants some quality competition. And Grimaldo will certainly provide a considerable attacking threat with 19 goals and 50 assists from 247 appearances for Benfica.