Alejandro Grimaldo
Alejandro Grimaldo moved from Barcelona to Benfica during the last January transfer window. Getty


  • Spanish boss knows defender from his time at Barcelona.
  • 21-year-old previously considered a long-term replacement for Jordi Alba.
  • Catalans sold him to the Portuguese side in December 2015, but retain the right to a share of any future sale.

Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola travelled to Portugal on Monday night to watch Benfica left-back Alejandro Grimaldo during a 3-1 victory over Braga, according to Diario Record and A Bola. The Portuguese publications claims the Spanish boss could be considering a move for his compatriot during the January transfer window, as he knows him well from their time together at Barcelona.

Grimaldo, 21, was considered one of the hottest prospects at the prolific La Masia academy during Guardiola's tenure at Barcelona, having being recruited from Valencia as a kid in 2008.

The Spain U21 international trained with the Barcelona first-team under Guardiola and enjoyed such an meteoric rise that he established himself in the second team aged just 17-years-old. Many identified him as the long-term replacement for Jordi Alba, but a cruciate ligament knee injury in 2013 hampered his progress.

Grimaldo came back strong for the 2014-15 campaign, and was called up to the first-team squad by Barcelona boss Luis Enrique for the pre-season. However, the player grew frustrated over a lack of first-team football under the current manager and during last January's transfer window he decided to move to Benfica.

Record and A Bola suggest Guardiola may try to reunite with him at Manchester City. The left-back is proving his real worth at Benfica, having started all seven games opening of the campaign.

However, a move to Manchester City in the January transfer window will not be straight-forward. His release clause is set at €60m (£51.5m, $66.9m) and Benfica are a notoriously tough team to negotiate with.

Guardiola previously signed Thiago Alcantara from the Catalans during his time at Bayern Munich, and has surrounded himself with a number of former Barcelona colleagues at Manchester City, including Manuel Estiarte, Rodolfo Borrell and Lorenzo Buenaventura.

He boss also signed Claudio Bravo from his former side in the summer as wanted a keeper to shape the game from the back as it is customary at Barcelona, even though he didn't coach the Chilean during his time at the Nou Camp.

In the case of Grimaldo, Barcelona may now be regretting their failure to give the Spaniard a chance to prove himself in the first-team, having signed Lucas Digne instead.

Should he move to City they will at least receive a part of the deal as they retained the right to a share of any future sale as part of his switch to Benfica.

The club confirmed at the time: "FC Barcelona and SL Benfica have reached an agreement for the transfer of Alejandro Grimaldo for 1.5 million euros. Barça also retain the right to a share of any future sale by the Portuguese club of the player who was until now the captain of Gerard López's Barça B team."