Bayer Leverkusen are already getting active in the transfer market ahead of next season with Xabi Alonso strengthening his left hand defensive side with the acquisition of Spanish fullback Alex Grimaldo on a free transfer from Benfica. Here’s the lowdown on the Werkself’s new man.
Despite interest from a number of clubs including the Premier League’s Fulham, Leeds United and Nottingham Forest, it is Bayer Leverkusen, who have succeeded in signing the 27-year-old after his contract ran down at Benfica.
“Alejandro Grimaldo is an agile, very capable full-back, tactically very adept. He’s a goal threat and has a lot of experience and class,” Bayer sporting director Simon Rolfes explained on announcing the signing. “We are pleased that we were able to convince Alejandro of our ambitious concept for the coming years.”
The player also gave his thoughts saying, “It’s an exciting challenge. I played for a top European club for seven years, but I’m just excited to be able to show my strengths in the Bundesliga. For me, it’s one of the best leagues in Europe and it’s certainly unique in terms of the ambience and atmosphere in the stadiums. I’m very proud that a Bundesliga club like Bayer 04 tried to sign me. I am sure that we will have a fantastic time together.”
Grimaldo, who won two caps previously for the Spanish U-21 side, has been at Benfica since 2016 when he joined from Barcelona’s B team. He was part of the Spain U-19 team that won the European Championships back in 2012, when he was a team mate of Paco Alcacer and Juan Bernat. Leverkusen have developed a strong right-hand side with Jeremie Frimpong and Moussa Diaby combining superbly and the priority had been to mirror this by strengthening the left-hand side. Grimaldo is the next piece of the puzzle as he can launch attacks as well as provide defensive cover for the back three. He likes to make runs from deep and act as an auxiliary winger when his side attacks.
This season in the Portuguese Primera Liga, he is the third-highest assist provider with eight so far as well as adding four goals. He leads the entire league in crosses (202) and has an 81.3% passing accuracy. He’s also fourth overall in the league for progressive carries (95). He’s made 17 tackles in the attacking third putting him third in the division.
All in all Bayer Leverkusen look to have signed a very capable player, who has proved himself in Portugal and is in the prime years of his career and ready to take his game to the Bundesliga. As a free transfer it really is a no-brainer for Leverkusen and the fact that Xabi Alonso is Spanish will make his settling in period a lot smoother.