Why Alejandro Grimaldo has been the best free signing this summer

In a summer that saw Harry Kane and Randal Kolo Muani steal the headlines, the business conducted by Bayer Leverkusen went fairly under the radar. The signings of Granit Xhaka and Victor Boniface have helped propel Die Werkself to the top of the Bundesliga standings, as Xabi Alonso’s side continue to look like the real deal this season.

Nevertheless, one signing has appeared to be a stroke of genius. With seven goals and five assists in all competitions so far this season, Alonso looks to have found one of the most dangerous players in the league, and for a total fee of €0. His name is Alejandro Grimaldo.

Last year, Alonso deployed Mitchel Bakker at left-wing back for the majority of the campaign, where the Dutch defender gave 100%. However, his deficiencies at both ends of the pitch were often far too noticeable, and as the saying goes, ‘you are only as strong as your weakest link’.

Unfortunately for Leverkusen, they found this out the hard way, as they failed to capitalise on their European voyages with defeat to Roma in the semi-finals of the Europa League. Nevertheless, as the season came to a close, Grimaldo was signed, and Alonso appeared to have found his man. Found him, he has.

Alejandro Grimaldo has more goal involvements than Davies, Bensebaini and Raum

From left-wing back, the flying Spaniard has been in tremendous form this season. From a stellar free-kick against Bayern Munich to two goals in order to salvage all three points against Hoffenheim, Grimaldo has been pivotal to the Werkself’s breathtaking attack.

With more goal involvements than Alphonso Davies, Ramy Bensebaini, and David Raum combined, it is clear to see that Leverkusen struck gold with the former Benfica full-back. However, as well as this, Grimaldo has not seen his attacking prowess get in the way of his defensive work.

The Spaniard has completed more tackles and interceptions than Davies, Bensebaini, and Raum, with the majority of his tackles coming in the defensive third. This shows his desire to track back and aid the defensive unit while also being a potent threat going forward.

In a summer when Dortmund lost Raphaël Guerreiro, they ignored Benfica’s Spanish jewel in order to sign Bensebaini. Instead, Leverkusen are the lucky side to call Grimaldo theirs, and while Dortmund find themselves cut adrift from the title race, Leverkusen laugh at the top of the league, with Grimaldo playing a large role in their success.

GGFN | Will Shopland

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