Manchester United

Manchester United

Premier League • England

Man Utd, Chelsea ready to strike as Barcelona standout snubs opening contract offer

Ronald Araujo, Barcelona defender during LaLiga match v Real Betis

Manchester United and Chelsea could be ready to take advantage after Barcelona centre-back Ronald Araujo reportedly rejected Barcelona’s opening contract offer.

The 22-year-old has developed into one of Barca’s top defenders since earning a promotion from the club’s B team back in 2019. Indeed, he has overtaken experienced stars Clement Lenglet and Samuel Umtiti to become Gerard Pique’s partner.

However, the Uruguay international’s future is unclear. His current contract expires in the summer of 2023 and the club and player are no closer to agreeing on fresh terms.

According to Spanish newspaper Marca, Araujo has turned down the Catalan giant’s opening offer. That is following talks between the club and his agent last week.

It’s claimed that although the offer was quickly rejected, talks remain ‘amicable’. To that end, more negotiations are expected in the coming months.

However, news over the uncertainty has given both United and Chelsea hope that they could land Araujo.

Chelsea are likely to be in desperate need of defenders this summer. Antonio Rudiger, Andreas Christensen and Cesar Azpilicueta will all be out of contract at the end of the season.

United, meanwhile, are still looking for ways to tighten up their defence. Harry Maguire has had his struggles this term, while Raphael Varane has not looked the same player who excelled at Real Madrid for so long.

Donny Van de Beek wanted by Crystal Palace on loan

Donny Van de Beek wanted by Crystal Palace on loan

Manchester United midfielder Donny Van de Beek wanted by Crystal Palace on loan

Araujo could still stay

There does, however, remain the possibility that Araujo will stay put. Indeed, it’s thought that sporting director Mateu Alemany has made his new contract a ‘priority’.

And given Barca’s current financial perils, tying down young talent is imperative to their future as a club.

The report also adds that REal Madrid are showing an interest in the playuer. However, the LaLiga rivals have ‘agreed an unwritten rule’ to stop speaking to each other’s players under contract.

Pundit destroys Martial after loan exit

Meanwhile, Anthony Martial will not be missed by Manchester United and the forward has ‘failed to apply himself properly’ during his six-and-a-half-year stint at Old Trafford.

Martial’s loan switch from Man Utd to Sevilla was confirmed on Tuesday night. It will be the first time he has played for a club other than United since joining them from Monaco in 2015.

Getting his first taste of La Liga, Martial will spend the rest of the season in Spain. Sevilla will be covering his wages for the duration of the spell. But they will not have the option to buy.

The loan exit to the Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan stadium brings an end, for now at least, to a turbulent spell at United. Indeed, he was recently locked into a war-of-words with Ralf Rangnick over his availability to the side.

However, now his exit has been confirmed, pundit Simon Jordan insists he will not be missed. He’s also questioned the player’s application.

Martial not a great loss

“If you look at young players. Wayne Rooney went into Man United as a teenager, [Cristiano Ronaldo] went there, Jude Bellingham’s gone to Dortmund as a teenager,” Jordan said on talkSPORT.

“It depends on the player and how they adapt.

“The ownership of the outcome is determined by the player and is created by him.

“If you’ve been there a couple years, or eighteen months like Wilfried Zaha went there, clearly it wasn’t right for him to go Man United at the time.

“You can contribute that to the player and the step up, he [Martial] has been given six-and-half-years!

“Six-and-half-years to get his act together. Ultimately he’s not really made his mark.”

READ MORE: Ralf Rangnick rethink, as Man Utd officials put new manager hunt on hold