Newcastle are ‘most interested’ in Benfica star who got exiled for disciplinary reason

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Newcastle are keen to bolster their options at the back this summer, despite signing several defenders in January. And their chances of signing Benfica left-back Alex Grimaldo may be boosted due to his disciplinary woes at the club.

The Magpies acquired Dan Burn, Matt Targett and Kieran Trippier this season, but Eddie Howe appears to be keen to sign another left-back. Grimaldo has been a key figure in the Benfica defence over the past few campaigns and would add experience and quality to the Toon’s backline.

But Newcastle may be sceptical about signing the Spaniard as reports have circulated that Benfica are keen for the player to leave due to his recent behaviour. O Joga report that the Magpies’ transfer target believed that he would not feature in the last game of the season in the Primeira Liga as he was set to travel to Spain.

Grimaldo was furious, scratching his name from the squad list and writing ‘joke’, which did not go down well with the club. His outburst does not appear to have put off Newcastle, however, with journalist Rudy Galetti, via Sport Witness, stating that Howe’s side remains ‘the most interested club’.

The club have also been heavily linked with a move for Atletico Madrid defender Renan Lodi, although his asking price means he could cost around £35million. The Brazilian impressed this season under Diego Simeone, with his displays in the Champions League catching the eye.

Lodi would also be a versatile option for Howe given that he can be deployed further forward as a winger, meaning that signing both he and Grimaldo cannot be entirely ruled out. But it seems likely that the Magpies may face competition to sign the latter.

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Juventus are reportedly interested in the 26-year-old, whilst Barcelona explored signing the full-back on loan in January. Grimaldo came through the academy at Barca but never made a first-team appearance for the club, before he was sold to Benfica in 2016.

It remains to be seen how manager Howe strengthens his defence this summer and how much of their budget they are willing to invest into their backline. The St James’ Park outfit are keen to improve their attacking options, with Hugo Ekitike and Moussa Diaby both reportedly in talks with the club.

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