Ronald Araujo is reportedly keen on signing for Chelsea in the summer transfer window, with Barcelona ready to cash in on the defender for €40 million.
According to a report from Catalan publication El Nacional, Barcelona defender Ronald Araujo is ready to leave the club at the end of the ongoing season and has his heart set on a transfer to Premier League giants Chelsea.
Araujo arrived at Barcelona in the summer of 2018, signing from Uruguayan outfit Boston River. Initially linking up with the club’s B team, the 22-year-old made his first-team debut in October 2019 but only became a regular fixture with the senior squad during the last season under then-manager Ronald Koeman.
Araujo has enjoyed a steady rise in prominence at Barcelona over the past year, with the Uruguayan firmly establishing himself as an ever-present in the backline and even acting as the leader of the defence with his aggressive performance in the ongoing campaign. To date, he has made 54 appearances for the Blaugrana, netting three goals and assisting another in the process.
Araujo is still on the same wages he was making with the B team despite his growing stature. With his contract expiring in 2023, Barcelona are in a precarious position with the defender and are trying to hand him a new contract. However, the report claims that the 22-year-old is demanding a salary of €6 million per year, with the club only offering four times less than that.
It has led to a standoff in negotiations, forcing Barcelona to consider the prospect of selling him in the summer when he enters the final year of his contract rather than losing him for nothing in 2023. Several Premier League clubs, including Chelsea, have taken note of the Uruguayan international’s situation.
Indeed, reports have indicated that Liverpool are ready to hand him a bumper contract, as are Newcastle United. However, Araujo is keen on snubbing them to sign for Chelsea, claims El Nacional. The Blues are in the market for reinforcements in defence as they could be staring at a massive overhaul with several centre-backs set to be out of contract at the end of the season.
Andreas Christensen, Antonio Rudiger, Cesar Azpilicueta and Thiago Silva all see their current deals run out at the end of the season. While talks have been taking place over extending their contracts, not everyone among the quartet is expected to stay put at Stamford Bridge, with Azpilicueta believed to be headed to Barcelona, while Rudiger could be on his way to Real Madrid.
Araujo wants to replace them at Chelsea, with manager Thomas Tuchel even understood to have promised the 22-year-old a leading role in his project. The chances of challenging for and winning trophies would be much greater for Araujo at Chelsea than at Barcelona, while they would also be able to meet his wage demands, which is why he is keen on switching to Stamford Bridge.
Barcelona, for their part, would be open to a sale if an offer of €40 million in the summer, even though their primary objective is to extend his contract. The fee mentioned should be no problem for Chelsea, and it will be interesting to see if they make a move to sign Araujo next year.