Barcelona have identified Benfica’s Alex Grimaldo as a replacement for veteran left-back Jordi Alba, as per reports in Fichajes.

The Blaugrana have made a shortlist of options at left-back as they look for a long-term successor for Alba. Grimaldo has emerged as the first name on their wishlist.

The report claims that Barcelona sporting advisor Jordi Cruyff is a huge admirer of the Spaniard and is prioritizing on bringing him back to Camp Nou.

Grimaldo came through the youth ranks of the Catalan giants but could never break into the first team. He spent two years of his youth career in the ranks of Valencia between 2006 and 2008 having joined them from Atlético Valbonense.

The Spaniard joined the Blaugrana in 2008 and was on their books until 2015 during which he made 92 appearances for FC Barcelona Atlètic.

He left the Catalan club to join Benfica in 2015 in search of regular first-team football and achieved that at the Estádio da Luz.

Grimaldo has been one of the key players for the Eagles over the years, catching the eye with his exceptional consistency. Known for his excellent crossing ability and ability to contribute at both ends of the pitch, the Spaniard has been linked with several top clubs over the years.

He has made a total of 286 appearances for Benfica, scoring 24 goals and producing 58 assists. Grimaldo, 27, has made 37 appearances this season across competitions, already having contributed with five goals and eight assists.

With his contract expiring this summer, the Spaniard is up for grabs on a free transfer which makes him a perfect target for financially struggling Barcelona.

However, the Blaugrana are set to face strong competition from Juventus for the signature of the bombarding full-back.

Barcelona consider bringing 29-year-old loanee back to club next season after recent performances

Barcelona could reportedly bring French defender Samuel Umtiti back to Camp Nou next season following his gradual rejuvenation in Serie A this term.

As reported by Spanish outlet Sport, the Catalan giants have been left impressed by the centre-back’s recent improvements and are considering his return.

The 2018 FIFA World Cup-winning defender has been pretty impressive since joining Lecce on a loan deal last summer. He has made 12 appearances for the Serie A side so far this season, including featuring in their last nine straight Serie A games.