Chelsea, Liverpool and Manchester United are all reportedly interested in signing Barcelona defender Ronald Araujo, who is impressing at Camp Nou.
According to a report from ESPN, Barcelona defensive ace Ronald Araujo has popped on the radars of three of the biggest clubs in the world in Chelsea, Liverpool and Manchester United.
Araujo signed for Barcelona in the summer of 2018 from Uruguayan club Boston River. Having linked up 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 regular for the senior side in the previous season under Ronald Koeman.
Araujo has been one of Barcelona’s shining lights in a gloomy period for the club over the past year. To date, the Uruguayan has featured 52 times for the Catalans across all competitions, scoring three goals and setting up another. With Gerard Pique ageing and the likes of Samuel Umtiti and Clement Lenglet out of favour, he has been tipped as the future of the Catalans’ defence.
However, Araujo’s contract with the La Liga giants expires in the summer of 2023, meaning he will enter the final year of his current deal at the end of the season. And, waiting on to pounce on him when it does are Chelsea, Liverpool and Manchester United.
Chelsea could be looking at a major defensive overhaul in the summer, given that Thiago Silva, Andreas Christensen, Cesar Azpilicueta, and Antonio Rudiger will all see their contracts run out. Talks over renewals are ongoing, 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 are working on a deal for the Fenerbahce star. However, they are now keeping tabs on the situation of Araujo as well. But, they would face competition for his signing from arch-rivals Liverpool, who have also received positive reports on the 22-year-old Uruguayan international.
Liverpool bolstered their defence 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 Joel Matip’s injury issues, Jurgen Klopp & co. could look at recruiting someone like Araujo with an eye on the club’s long-term future.
Apart from these two clubs, Manchester United are also said to be closely monitoring Araujo and his situation. The Red Devils, like Liverpool, brought in a new defender in Raphael Varane last summer. However, Victor Lindelof and Harry Maguire have struggled this season while Eric Bailly is being linked with an exit.
So, it shouldn’t be put past the 20-time English champions to dip their toes in the market for another centre-back next year, with Araujo now being identified as a target. The report states that Barcelona are keen on extending his contract and are preparing a five-year offer for the 22-year-old. However, Araujo’s wage demands were higher than what they expected, leading to complications in talks.
The Blaugrana are well aware that they cannot match any offers from the Premier League giants. As a result, they hope to close the matter at the earliest, before Araujo enters the final year of his deal. It now remains to be seen if they successfully hand him a new contract or see either of the three clubs poach him.