It’s been a case of Jekyll and Hyde for West Ham United this season, with David Moyes’ men struggling in the Premier League but shining in the Europa Conference League.
They have won just four league matches so far this season, however, the club have clicked into gear on the continent, winning six straight group stage matches to qualify for the Conference League knockout stages.
Will West Ham sign Grimaldo?
With the World Cup break now upon us, Moyes will be thinking about adding quality to his team, especially in the full-back departments. The club appears to be keen on selling Vladimir Coufal during the January window, but it could be the left-back spot that the 59-year-old is aiming to strengthen.
Journalist Dean Jones claimed West Ham wanted Benfica left-back Alex Grimaldo during the summer transfer window and Moyes could yet go back in for the defender in January.
According to reports in Portugal, the left back appears to show no signs of signing an extension to his contract which expires next summer, something that surely represents good news for the Hammers.
A fee of €10m (£8.5m) was mooted for the player back in September, although this may now be lower if he doesn’t sign a new deal and it’s a move West Ham simply have to make, especially with Aaron Cresswell turning 33 by the end of the year.
The Englishman has been consistent this season, contributing well going forward by playing 2.1 key passes per game and creating three big chances. Defensively, however, he has struggled at times.
The 32-year-old has been dribbled past on average 0.7 times a match while losing possession 14.2 times each game and someone younger should be considered.
In comparison, the 27-year-old has shone for Benfica this season, averaging a SofaScore rating of 7.51, adding four goal contributions as well as 2.4 key passes per match, and creating a further five big chances, proving he’d be an upgrade on Cresswell offensively.
Defensively he has helped his team keep five clean sheets while being dribbled past 0.6 times per match and making 2.4 tackles. Add in the fact he is at the peak of his powers and he would likely be a guaranteed starter at the London Stadium should he join, pushing the English defender out in the process.
Benfica sporting director Tiago Pinto lauded him as being “one of the best five left-backs in Europe”, and his performances clearly show why Pinto holds him in such high esteem.
If Moyes can sign Grimaldo for a knockdown price, it would arguably be one of his finest transfer moves yet, especially with his talent and ability to perform at the highest level, while adding some attacking impetus down the left-hand side.