Manchester United are lining up a move for Benfica’s Alex Grimaldo after scouts watched the left-back produce an excellent display in a 4-0 win over Feirense.
Grimaldo begun his career at La Masia, Barcelona’s famous academy system, and went on to make 92 appearances for Barcelona B.
The 21-year-old, after seven years in Catalonia, was captured by the Portuguese champions in January 2016, signing for a fee of €1.5 million.
Anybody who was nurtured at La Masia – an academy founded by the late Johan Cruyff, with custodians such as Lionel Messi, Xavi and Andres Iniesta – deserves recognition. As Pep Guardiola once said: “The player who has passed through La Masia has something different to the rest.”
And when you watch Grimaldo play, you can see what Guardiola means. The Spaniard espouses an intangible aura of calmness, playing in a wholly natural, comfortable way. He is a far cry from your rudimentary left back – the type of player that merely bombs up and down the flank, devotedly performing his function and not doing much else.
Grimaldo’s game, on the other hand, is far more eclectic: he can send inch perfect passes all over the pitch, beat players, work his way out of tight spaces and, as shown against Feirense, score free-kicks.