Chelsea, Liverpool and Manchester United are all reportedly interested in signing Barcelona defender Ronald Araujo, who is making an impression at the Camp Nou.
According to a report by ESPNBarcelona’s defensive ace Ronald Araujo has appeared on the radar of three of the biggest clubs in the world in Chelsea, Liverpool and Manchester United.
Araujo signed for Barcelona from the Uruguayan club Boston River in the summer of 2018. After being linked with the club’s B-team, the 22-year-old made his first-team debut in 2019 under then manager Ernesto Valverde. He became a permanent fixture for the seniors under Ronald Koeman in the previous season.
Araujo has been one of Barcelona’s shining lights during a bleak period for the club over the past year. To date, the Uruguayan has played 52 times for the Catalans in all competitions, scoring three goals and securing another. With Gerard Pique aging and players like Samuel Umtiti and Clement Lenglet out of favor, he is being tipped as the future of the Catalans’ defence.
However, Araujo’s contract with the La Liga giants will expire in the summer of 2023, meaning he will enter the final year of his current contract at the end of the season. And waiting to pounce on him if it does are Chelsea, Liverpool and Manchester United.
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Chelsea could be considering a major defensive overhaul in the summer as Thiago Silva, Andreas Christensen, Cesar Azpilicueta and Antonio Rudiger will all see their contracts expire. Talks about extensions are underway but there is no guarantee that all of them will agree to extensions, potentially leaving a vacancy or two in the backline at Stamford Bridge.
The Blues have already identified Attila Szalai as a target and working on a deal for the star of Fenerbahçe. However, they are now also monitoring Araujo’s situation. But they would face competition for his signing from arch-rivals Liverpool, who have also received positive reports of the 22-year-old Uruguayan international.
Liverpool bolstered their defense last summer with the signing of Ibrahima Konate. However, Virgil van Dijk will be 31 years old by the time the next season starts and given the injury problems of Joel Matip, Jurgen Klopp & co. could look into recruiting someone like Araujo with an eye on the long term future of the club.
Apart from these two clubs, Manchester United would keep a close eye on Araujo and his situation. Like Liverpool, the Red Devils brought in a new defender in Raphael Varane last summer. However, Victor Lindelof and Harry Maguire have had a hard time this season while Eric Bailly is associated with an exit.
So it shouldn’t go beyond the 20-time England champions to dip their toes in the market for a new centre-back next year, with Araujo now being identified as a target. The report says Barcelona are keen to extend his contract and are preparing a five-year offer for the 22-year-old. However, Araujo’s wage demands were higher than expected, leading to complications in the negotiations.
The Blaugrana are well aware that they cannot match any offers from the Premier League giants. As a result, they hope to close the case at the earliest, before Araujo enters the final year of his deal. It remains to be seen whether they will successfully hand him a new contract or whether one of the three clubs will strip him.