Arsenal are rivalling Manchester United for the signature of Barcelona defender Ronald Araujo, according to one reporter who reveals both clubs have made contract offers.
Araujo is out of contract with Barcelona in 2023. Despite his importance to the team, they could have to sell him in the summer. It would protect them from the risk of losing him for free a year later.
Although they have been trying to renew his contract, they have not been successful in their attempts. It has prompted speculation over Araujo’s next move, which could take him to the Premier League.
He has been heavily linked with a transfer to Manchester United, who could be in the market for defensive reinforcements as questions continue to be aimed in the direction of Harry Maguire.
In fact, United were placed in pole position for Araujo’s signature by reports earlier this week. But now, they have learned of competition from elsewhere in England.
According to Spanish reporter Gerard Romero, speaking via Twitch, Araujo is of interest not only to Man Utd, but also to Arsenal.
The Gunners currently rely on a centre-back partnership of Benjamin White and Gabriel Magalhaes. Rob Holding backs them up, while William Saliba and Pablo Mari are out on loan.
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Araujo, 23, could give them another option at the back. Arsenal are willing to increase his salary to tempt him to the Emirates Stadium. While he currently earns around £1.8m per season with Barcelona, the Premier League outfit could give him terms surpassing £5m per season (or £100,000 per week).
Man Utd can usurp Araujo offer
Man Utd could yet outdo them with a proposal worth a net £6.7m per season (over £125,000 per week). But it all depends on who can free him up from Barcelona first.
Araujo is protected by a release clause of €200m (£167m). It is clear that Barcelona cannot command that figure in full. However, it is not yet apparent how much they may cash in for.
As long as their attempts to tie him down stumble, though, they will be vulnerable to losing him for a price that doesn’t reflect his true worth.
He has started 16 games among 21 La Liga appearances so far this season, scoring three goals. Nine more appearances have come across cup competitions.
His importance to his current employers has been clear but they are now at risk of seeing him depart for the Premier League.
Another defender on Arsenal radar
Meanwhile, reports elsewhere claim Arsenal have joined the race to sign RB Leipzig defender Josko Gvardiol.
Gvardiol rejected the chance to move to the Premier League with Leeds United upon their return to the top flight. He instead favoured the pathway presented to him by RB Leipzig. His decision to choose them as his next club after Dinamo Zagreb seems to be paying off.
After the departures of Dayot Upamecano and Ibrahima Konate from Leipzig in the summer, Gvardiol has gone on to start 23 Bundesliga matches. He has also amassed a further three starts in the Champions League, two in the Europa League and two in the German cup.
Still only 20 years old, Gvardiol is quickly making a name for himself. He may end up with the chance to become a Premier League player after all – at a higher level than he would have with relegation-threatened Leeds.
Reports have recently linked him with Manchester City or Tottenham Hotspur. Now, Croatian outlet Index have revealed that he is on the radar of Arsenal as well.
But according to Index, Gvardiol could end up costing as much as Harry Maguire did for Manchester United, Virgil van Dijk for Liverpool, or Matthijs De Ligt for Juventus. The fees for all three broke the benchmark of €80m (£67.2m).
It remains to be seen when Gvardiol will be worth that amount. But Index do not feel it will be too far off. They estimate he could reach that level within 18 months.
The Croatia international is under contract in Germany until 2026. But Leipzig, who have often profited from developing players, could cash in before then if his value does soar as high as his home media predicts.
Arsenal will be hoping to be well-placed to compete for his signature. It may be wise for them to act before the price becomes too high.