Premier League • England

Chelsea spot standout attributes that make La Liga star an ‘enormous’ target

Ronald Araujo challenging Joao Felix

Chelsea have an “enormous interest” in Barcelona defensive star Ronald Araujo, according to reports, as his contract situation becomes a pressing issue at Camp Nou.

Defence is an area Chelsea are looking to reinforce for the future. Four of their current options at centre-back are out of contract in 2022. They risk losing any of Thiago Silva, Cesar Azpilicueta, Andreas Christensen and Antonio Rudiger.

There is more optimism for some than others. But they need to be drawing up plans in case they lose some of their present defenders.

They were already aware of this in the summer, when they tried to take Jules Kounde from Sevilla. However, they did not agree with his changing price tag. Therefore, although keeping him in mind, they are expanding their shortlist of targets for 2022.

The latest name to emerge onto their radar is Araujo. He joined Barcelona B in 2018 and was promoted to the first team for the 2020-21 season. In total, he made 33 appearances last term.

So far this season, the Uruguay international has 14 appearances to his name between La Liga and the Champions League. His importance to Barcelona is growing, which means his contract situation is becoming more urgent for them to resolve.

His current deal will last until 2023, putting them at risk of losing him next year. According to Sport (via Sport Witness), both parties want to continue together, but there are some obstacles.

Araujo is one of Barca’s lowest-paid players. Some of his teammates earn as much as 10 times more than him. He would want his improved status to be reflected in any new terms.

Barca’s financial struggles are plain for all to see though. Therefore, it may be tricky for them to find a compromise.

Liverpool targeting Barcelona defender Ronald Araujo after contract talks stall

Liverpool have reported interest in Barcelona centre half Ronald Araujo, with more news on Frenkie De Jong and Ousmane Dembele.

A recent report revealed that Liverpool are showing an interest in Araujo. However, Sport confirm that Chelsea are also in the mix for his signature, as previously reported by Mundo Deportivo.

They think he would fit in well in the Premier League due to his physical attributes. Furthermore, they would be able to offer him a better salary than Barcelona would in their renewal attempts.

In fact, Chelsea’s interest in Araujo is described as “enormous”. Such a deal would likely have to wait until next summer, though, which may be the opportune time to pounce if Barca haven’t agreed a new deal.

Ronald Araujo raising his hand during a Barcelona match

It is not yet clear how much the 22-year-old might cost. His potential is clear though and he would be an interesting idea for Chelsea to consider in the transfer market.

Chelsea defender exit close

Another defender who could be on his way out of Chelsea, thus increasing their need for further depth, is Malang Sarr.

Chelsea picked up Sarr on a free transfer after he left Nice in 2020. He went on loan to Porto that October to build up experience, but only played eight times in the Portuguese league.

Thomas Tuchel has only been able to give Sarr one appearance in the Premier League and two in the Carabao Cup so far this season. Now 22 years old, it is not the kind of gametime he needs for his progression.

Therefore, Chelsea could be about to let Sarr leave for pastures new again in a deal that may benefit all concerned.

According to Sport Mediaset, Sarr is close to joining Inter Milan from January onwards. They could take him on loan with the option to buy for around €15m.

From Inter’s perspective, another centre-back option is a necessity. They have Milan Skriniar, Stefan De Vrij and Alessandro Bastoni as their main back three. There is only Andrea Ranocchia as a natural alternative.

Sarr would therefore be more likely to find space at San Siro, even if he wouldn’t be a guaranteed starter there either.

Furthermore, the report claims Blues teammate Romelu Lukaku has advised him over the move. The striker, of course, made the opposite switch from Inter to Chelsea in the summer after winning the Scudetto.

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