Barcelona defender Ronald Araujo is reportedly hugely admired by Premier League club Everton, who are in the market for a new central defender.
According to reliable journalist and transfer expert Fabrizio Romano on Twitter, Premier League outfit Everton have their sights set on Barcelona’s 22-year-old centre-back Ronald Araujo ahead of the summer transfer window.
Araujo spent his formative years at Rentistas and Boston River back in his homeland, Uruguay, before making the jump to Barcelona in the summer of 2018. Having initially linked up with the Catalan club’s B team, the central defender made his first-team debut in October 2019 under Ernesto Valverde and went on to feature six times over the course of the campaign.
In the ongoing season, though, the 22-year-old has grown into a full-fledged first-team member racking up 29 appearances across all competitions. In fact, Araujo had been Barcelona’s best defender for the most part of the first half of the season until he picked up an injury, following which he has lost his place in the side in recent games.
Nevertheless, the youngster has made the most of the opportunities that came his way this season, as a reward for which he also made his debut for the Uruguayan national team in October last year. And, Araujo’s development at Camp Nou has not gone unnoticed, with Everton taking a keen interest in the 22-year-old, according to Romano.
Everton, at the moment, have four centre-backs at their disposal in the form of Michael Keane, Yerry Mina, Ben Godfrey and Mason Holgate. In addition, they also have the promising youngster Jarrad Branthwaite, who has been linked with Manchester United in the past, and has recently seen his loan spell at Blackburn Rovers get cut short due to an injury.
However, Mina, a former Barcelona defender, has struggled with injuries during his time at Goodison Park and is staring at an uncertain future at the club. Plus, with Carlo Ancelotti often using Ben Godfrey as a full-back, there is room for another centre-half joining the Toffees this summer, which would explain their interest in Barcelona’s Araujo.
The La Liga giants, though, have absolutely no intention of selling the Uruguayan international. And their stance makes sense to a large extent considering that Gerard Pique is in the twilight of his career while Samuel Umtiti has also been linked with an exit this summer. Besides, there have also been speculations surrounding the immediate future of Clement Lenglet as well.
So, even if the Blaugrana are set to secure the signing of Eric Garcia on a free transfer in the summer, they need to ensure that there is enough depth in the centre-back department. And, with Araujo impressing in his breakthrough campaign, they should hold on to him, meaning Everton will have to look elsewhere to strengthen their options.