Manchester United are ready to take advantage of Ronald Araujo’s contract stand-off with Barcelona and bring the centre-back to Old Trafford, according to reports from Spain.
The Uruguay international’s current deal at Camp Nou expires in 2023, and he is yet to reach terms with the Catalan club despite their willingness to invest in the squad during January.
While Araujo won’t be available on a free transfer this summer, his contract situation could pave the way for a cut-price deal.
Chelsea and Manchester City have also been linked with moves for the 22-year-old, with City boss Pep Guardiola reportedly meeting with his agent, but United are believed to retain hope of forcing through a deal.After a run of games last season under Ronald Koeman, Araujo has kept his place since the arrival of Xavi and continues to play his part at the heart of Barca’s defence.
His three goals this season represent his best return to date in a single season, with the third coming in the recent league victory over Atletico Madrid.
However, according to Marca (via Sport Witness ), very strong offers have been tabled for the South American from Manchester United and Chelsea.Araujo is one of a number of Barcelona first-teamers out of contract in 2023, with Premier League target Gavi and former Manchester United forward Memphis Depay – who signed over the summer – among the others.
Long-serving midfielder Sergio Busquets is also yet to agree an extension, with Manchester City reportedly interested in the Spanish international.
Barcelona offered Busquets a new deal on reduced terms over the summer, as reported by 90min at the time, but the door is said to remain open over a move to England.
No deal was reached, though, and the Uruguayan’s future remains uncertain, despite the Catalan club spending big at the end of the transfer window to sign Adama Traore on loan and hand a contract to free agent Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang after the forward left Arsenal.
Meanwhile, Barca boss Xavi felt compelled to issue a statement after Araujo appeared to goad Espanyol fans at the end of a recent league game against the local rivals.
As reported by Eurosport, the manager reminded his players “respect the opponent” following Araujo’s actions, which came in the aftermath of Luuk de Jong’s last-minute equaliser which helped Barcelona escape with a 2-2 draw at RCDE Stadium.