West Ham have been given a huge Alex Grimaldo boost ahead of the January window but Arsenal could pose a problem.
David Moyes and Mikel Arteta were linked with mutual interest in a host of players in the summer with West Ham having closed the gap on Arsenal in recent years.
Both spent big in the summer but are having almost polar opposite seasons so far in the Premier League with the Gunners flying high at the top of the table and the Hammers just one point off the bottom three approaching the halfway stage.
West Ham and Arsenal have both been linked with brilliant left-back Grimaldo in recent months.
After signing a striker, the fullback areas were without question the most important to strengthen for Moyes in the summer.
West Ham fans wanted to see young, pacy, modern fullbacks brought in to replace the ageing Aaron Cresswell and Vladimir Coufal.
When West Ham were forced to admit defeat in their bid to sign Filip Kostic in the summer, they turned to Spanish-Portuguese ace Grimaldo.
Speaking to Give Me Sport at the time, journalist Dean Jones claimed that West Ham really wanted the 27-year-old Benfica star.
While Arsenal have sold their own full-back issues from within by using Ben White at right-back and – on occasion – ex West Ham target Takehiro Tomiyasu at left-back, in the end West Ham signed Emerson from Chelsea for £13.5m.
The move has not worked out so far with the Italian international failing to impress or oust Cresswell from the team despite West Ham’s woeful form.
Grimaldo is an attacking left-back in every sense and has bagged 22 goals and 55 assists in 274 games for Benfica (Transfermarkt).
Benfica sporting director Tiago Pinto recently suggested that ‘world-class’ Grimaldo is good enough to play for any team in world football, as quoted by Be Soccer.
Talk of a move for Grimaldo has not gone away, with speculation West Ham and Arsenal could reignite their interest.
Now West Ham have been handed a huge Grimaldo boost ahead of the January window but Arsenal pose a problem.
Because according to a report from Portuguese outlet A Bola overnight, Benfica are looking resigned to losing Grimaldo with ‘no smoke signals’ from the defender that he is willing to sign a new contract – which expires at the end of the season.
That means two things.
West Ham and Arsenal would be in the clear to approach Grimaldo in January over a pre-contract agreement for a free transfer in the summer.
Or – what is more likely given A Bola’s claim that the Portuguese club have little hope of persuading him to stay – he will be sold for a knockdown fee in January.
Grimaldo would be a guaranteed starter week in, week out at West Ham. But he would face competition from the likes of Kieran Tierney at Arsenal.
The Spanish connection between Arteta and Grimaldo could be a problem for West Ham. Although the defender is now looking to become a Portuguese citizen and play for the Portuguese National Team.
Juventus are also linked but have a host of left-backs and left wingbacks including new arrival Kostic.
Getting a player like Grimaldo for a knockdown fee in January would be stunning business for West Ham and just what the team needs.
Indeed it would even be worth paying a premium if it meant signing him in January rather than waiting until the summer to get him for nothing, he’s that good.