Ronald Araujo has spoken about his decision to reject the likes of Manchester United and Liverpool in favour of a new contract at Barcelona.
The centre-back has become one of Barcelona’s most important players this season, having made 40 appearances so far. He is a staple in Xavi’s defence, despite the manager selecting various partners at centre-half in recent weeks.
Araujo is emerging into one of the top defenders in La Liga and is now a full Uruguay international as a result.
He has featured nine times for the South American nation and is due to play at this year’s World Cup, as long as he stays fit.
Araujo’s top displays in Spain have seen him become a target for clubs across Europe.
Manchester United and Liverpool were hoping to pounce on Barcelona’s poor financial situation by putting bids in for the star.
According to reports in April, United put a ‘dizzying’ offer on the table for Araujo. It would have seen him earn twice what Barca were pledging if he remained at the Nou Camp.
Despite this, Araujo rejected Premier League interest and opted to stay as part of Xavi’s project.
Ronald Araujo given huge release clause
He signed a new contract with the Spanish giants which will keep him in Catalonia until June 2026. It also has a release clause worth €1billion (£854m).
During an interview with Spanish newspaper Sport, Araujo was asked about his decision to extend at Barca.
He said: “It was always my wish. The renewal is a great happiness.
“I am in the best club in the world and it’s a reward for the work done. The confidence that the club has in me means that I am doing things well.”
Araujo clearly has the ability and physical attributes to cut it at one of the Premier League’s best teams. But he is loyal to Barca at the moment, which explains the new deal.
Araujo is also enjoying his time playing under Xavi. The former midfielder is bringing optimism and hope to the club after they went stale under Ronald Koeman.
Plus, the Blaugrana went on a 15-match unbeaten run in La Liga between December and April. That has helped them overtake Sevilla and reach second place, behind champions Real Madrid.
Araujo is not the only Barca player United have hopes of signing. They like the look of Frenkie de Jong, although a Prem rival is now on his trail.