Benfica give Man Utd green light to move for £35m wing-back

James Marshment

Manchester United may have found an answer to their long-standing left-back issues after being granted permission by Benfica to bid on one of their top stars.

With Luke Shaw’s future at the club looking increasingly unlikely and with long-term injury victim Marcos Rojo only recently on the comeback trail, Jose Mourinho has been forced to play Ashley Young as a makeshift left wing-back.

And while Young has impressed in the role, the converted winger is now 32 and does not have time on his side.

As such, Mourinho has been actively seeking a long-term solution to the club’s left-back issue and has been linked with Tottenham’s Danny Rose on numerous occasions.

However, Spurs would be loathe to lose another full-back so soon after selling Kyle Walker to Manchester City and would likely reject any approach from United for Rose.

But Mourinho may find more joy if they approach Benfica for Alex Grimaldo, with reports in Portugal claiming the United boss is plotting a £35million January move for the 22-year-old.

And now their CEO Domingos Oliveria has suggested the club would be open to selling.

Speaking to IBTimes UK: “All of the Benfica players have a certain market. Now you have some differences, the oldest guy we have in the team is Julio Cesar who is 38 years old and youngest is Miles Svilar who is 18.

“The players with over 30 years, it is difficult to transfer them although for example Jonas, our best striker, when we hired him he was already 30.

“But for a player who is 25, 26, 27, or younger at 22, 23, 24, there is a huge market. I am not talking specifically about Grimaldo, but all players with those conditions, they have a market.

Alex Grimaldo: In action for Benfica

“We do not want to close the door to anyone. We don’t want to force them to stay here. We want them to stay as long as they can. And while they are here they are happy, but once both parties agree on a transfer, usually the player leaves but as mentioned before, leave with a good relationship with the club.”

Grimaldo, linked with both Juventus and Manchester City over the past year, is a product of Barcelona’s La Masia academy and, since joining Benfica in 2015, has been a key part of their starting line-up.

United have also been linked with a move for Benfica’s young keeper Svilar, who gifted United victory in the Champions League last month, before scoring an unfortunate own goal in the return at Old Trafford.

Oliveria, however, would not be pressed when questioned if United had contacted them about the teenager.


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