In-demand Man Utd, Liverpool defensive target ‘optimistic’ as he breaks silence over future

Ronald Araujo Barcelona April 2022

Barcelona defender Ronald Araujo has spoken about his future and revealed he is talking to the club “this week” and hopes to stay with the LaLiga giants.

Araujo’s contract expires in June 2023 and ongoing talks about his future in Catalonia have prompted heavy interest from the Premier League. The 23-year-old is understood be interesting Liverpool, Man Utd, Man City and Arsenal.

Sources told ESPN last month that Barca’s first offer was worth around €5m annually for the centre-back. That led to plenty of interest from England, although Barca remained confident of securing the Uruguay international.

Manchester United immediately readied an annual salary of €8m. That roughly equates to a weekly wage of £128,000, as per ABC. And Arsenal were reported to have matched United’s €8m salary offer.

Catalunya Radio claimed that it was Liverpool who were “most advanced” in the race for his signature. While according to Super Deporte, Manchester City were “close” to signing Araujo.

It’s clear from the varied speculation that no outlet had a clear enough handle of proceedings. What was certain though was that English clubs were ready to pounce if Araujo’s contract talks collapsed.

But the nine-cap international has now broken his silence and said he his hoping to stay at Barcelona.

“I am very happy to be here,” Araujo said to reporters after Barca beat Sevilla 1-0 on Sunday. “I am happy with the support of the people.

Araujo terms unchanged since 2018

“We are working on the renewal. This week we have a meeting. I hope that it is resolved soon so that I can continue many years in this club. I want to stay here. Optimistic.”

Araujo has quickly established himself as one of the finest defenders LaLiga. He has been a mainstay at the heart of Xavi’s defence this season with 34 appearances in all competitions. But his current salary does not reflect his importance to the team.

Indeed, Araujo is still on the terms he agreed when arriving at Barcelona on a five-year deal in 2018.

Barcelona president Joan Laporta has emphasised that new contracts and new signings will have to fit within the club’s new financial boundaries.

“We are working on the financial issue and obtaining more resources to have the salary margin we need.

“So, you can talk about players, about big-money operations in which Barça are not going to lose its head. They will have to adapt to Barca’s salary levels and to an economic structure that maintains the sustainability and balance of the club,” he said last week.

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