Manchester United

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Premier League • England

Barcelona gambling on key defensive star buckling as Man Utd, Arsenal target rejects contract offer

Barcelona are reportedly relying on Ronald Araujo eventually buckling over his new contract talks after the Manchester United and Arsenal target rebuffed their initial offer.

The 23-year-old has emerged as a top Premier League target after becoming a regular starter for cash-strapped Barca, forcing boss Xavi to leave the likes of Clement Lenglet and, to a lesser extent, the injury-hit Samuel Umtiti on the bench.

But the Catalan giants are seemingly playing with fire in their attempts to keep the player long-term.

Cataluyna Radio states that Barcelona have decided to not raise their contract renewal terms for Araujo, having offered him three times his current salary during the initial offer.

The Uruguayan stopper turned down that first approach amid rumours that he wants more. Indeed, the player is said to be chasing a salary similar to that of highly-touted duo Pedri and Ansu Fati.

And while Barca know clubs are chasing the player, they’re willing to take a risk by sticking to their guns.

They are confident Araujo will eventually back down and put to paper. Their reasoning is that the defender will then be bolstered handsomely in future contract renewals.

Araujo’s current contract ends in 2023, with United already showing a firm interest.

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United, Arsenal in the running for Araujo

The Red Devils have reportedly offered an €8million salary package, while Arsenal have tabled €6m annually – the same as Barca’s offer.

Juventus are also keeping tabs on the situation but Barcelona are happy to play hardball for now.

Araujo has been a key player for Xavi since the Barca legend’s return to the club. He even played at right-back and kept Vinicius Jr quiet in his side’s 4-0 win at the Bernabeu last weekend.

The defender is also a big goal threat and has notched four times this season. Three of his four strikes have come against major rivals Real, Atletico Madrid, and Sevilla.

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