Arsenal set to sign Alex Grimaldo to replace Kolasinac and Monreal in the summer

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Arsenal are eyeing a move for Benfica left-back Alex Grimaldo, but will face competition from several European heavyweights.

Jose Mourinho had ordered Manchester United to keep tabs on the 23-year-old before his sacking in December, while the likes of Atletico Madrid and Manchester City are also monitoring the Barcelona academy graduate.

Left-back has turned into something of a problem position for Unai Emery, with Nacho Monreal’s season severely disrupted by a number of muscle injuries.

The 32-year-old’s contract was due to expire at the end of the season but reports claim Arsenal opted to trigger a 12-month extension clause in January.

In Monreal’s absence, Sead Kolasinac, a free signing from Schalke 18 months ago, has emerged as a key attacking weapon but remains suspect defensively, especially on the occasions Emery has reverted to a flat back four.

Arsenal were restricted to signing players on loan during the most recent transfer window and Emery could be handed as little as £45million to work with in the summer before player sales.

Mesut Ozil and Shkodran Mustafi are two players who could be sold in a bid to raise extra funds, but even then Arsenal would struggle to secure the services of Grimaldo without the carrot of Champions League football.

Mundo Deportivo, however, claim Arsenal lead the race for the player who cost Benfica just £2m when he moved from Barcelona three years ago.