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Why Alejandro Grimaldo could shine at Man United

The Benfica left-back has been linked with a move to Old Trafford

After a great start to the season, Manchester United have lost some of their momentum in recent weeks.

The absence of Paul Pogba and defensive injuries have forced Jose Mourinho to make changes to his regular starting XI. However, one position that’s still up for grabs is at left-back.

The club have recently been linked with Benfica’s Alejandro Grimaldo as a solution on the left side of defence.

Long-term left-back?

Luke Shaw was seen as the first-choice left-back for United and England for years to come, but Mourinho doesn’t seem to be a fan. Shaw has only made two substitute appearances in the Carabao Cup this season.

Ashley Young, Daley Blind and Matteo Darmian have all been used on the left side of defence, though none of them is an ideal solution.

Grimaldo has the chance to make the left-back spot his own if United step up their interest.

The 22-year-old is a product of Barcelona’s academy. He captained Barcelona B but Luis Enrique didn’t give him a chance in the first-team.

He eventually joined Benfica for just €1.5m last January. The Portuguese side can expect a huge profit on that fee if he does leave.

Attacking impetus

The former Spain Under-21 international was a midfielder in his younger days and he’s got superb technical ability. He can pass and cross with impressive accuracy. The Valencia-born defender can deliver from set-piece situations too.

He can also get up and down the pitch to add another dimension to United’s attacking play.

Anthony Martial and Marcus Rashford have rotated on the left wing for most of this season.

Both of them are strikers that can play out wide, rather than natural wingers, which means they tend to cut inside.

Grimaldo’s attacking runs on the outside would occupy defenders, creating time and space for Martial and Rashford.

One potential drawback is that he is relatively small at 5’7”, which could be an issue in the Premier League. He’s not yet as impressive defensively as he is going forward either. Victor Lindelof has demonstrated how difficult it can be to adapt to football in the top flight recently.

Even with those weaknesses in mind, it’s clear that Grimaldo has the potential to become a top-class left-back.

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