Manchester City are well positioned in the race to sign Ronald Araujo from Barcelona in the summer, according to reports in Spain.
Araujo is attracting plenty of admirers amid a contract stalemate with Barcelona. His current deal is due to run until 2023, but the two parties have not been able to meet in the middle over a renewal.
The defender wants to earn the same kind of salary as midfielder Pedri and forward Ansu Fati. They both signed long-term extensions last October. Key parts of the project Barcelona are building, Araujo wants it to be reflected that he is one too.
His employers, though, are reluctant to meet his wage demands. With that in mind, they are now strongly considering a summer sale to avoid losing him for free next year.
The 23-year-old has already been linked with some of their Premier League rivals. For example, he could be a target for the likes of Man Utd and Arsenal, as well as Liverpool.
But reigning champions Man City could make an attempt to usurp any opposing bid for the centre-back’s services.
Super Deporte are backing them to “take advantage” of Barcelona’s inability to retain his services. Citing his “physical power” and aerial ability as appealing factors, they write that Araujo could form an “impressive” partnership with Ruben Dias.
Manchester United offer to double Ronald Araujo wages
Barcelona defender Ronald Araujo has been offered a new contract by Barca but has been told Manchester United will double that contract
Aymeric Laporte and John Stones have generally been battling for a starting spot alongside Dias at centre-back this season. They are both strong options, but Super Deporte seem to believe Araujo could yet turn out to be an upgrade.
Araujo becoming of importance to Barcelona
At 23, he has age on his side and the potential to develop even further from his current levels. Given that he has been regarded as Barcelona’s best centre-back this season, that is promising.
The Uruguay international has made 32 appearances in all competitions throughout 2021-22. He has even contributed four goals from 22 La Liga outings.
Moving to Man City would give him his first taste of Premier League football. Only time would tell how he would adapt.
Barcelona, meanwhile, have not given up all hope of retaining Araujo’s services. Club president Joan Laporta recently told El Periodico that both Araujo and midfielder Gavi – also out of contract in 2023 – could yet stay.
He said: “There’s a framework in which we have to stay at to negotiate salaries.
“Talks are going well. We want them to stay, and they want to stay.”