Man Utd eyeing Araujo transfer bragging rights despite Guardiola meeting
The agent of Barcelona’s Ronald Araujo has been spotted dining with Pep Guardiola, but Manchester United are the club reportedly pushing to seal a deal for the highly-rated defender
Manchester United are reportedly pushing to sign Barcelona ‘s Ronald Araujo, but could well face competition from neighbours Manchester City after Pep Guardiola was spotted having dinner with his agent.
The Uruguayan centre-back is reportedly attracting interest from a host of top clubs from around Europe and doesn’t appear to be short of Premier League admirers.
The 22-year-old has recently stalled over a new deal with the La Liga giants and has now entered the final 18 months of his current contract.
With his situation set to hot up come the summer, Guardiola has been spotted seemingly schmoozing the player’s agent, but it appears to be United who are most determined to secure the transfer bragging rights.
According to MARCA, the Red Devils are keen to exploit Araujo’s contract stand-off and are prepared to make a “large investment” in the player as they push hardest to secure his signature.
Barcelona have reportedly been seeking to tie the defender down to a new deal since before the pandemic in March 2020, but thus far their efforts have been in vain.
Reports in Spain claim United aren’t the only team interested in snapping up the defender should he fail to sign a new deal at the Nou Camp.
Speculation surrounding a move to City has also been fuelled in recent days after Guardiola was pictured dining with the player’s agent, Edmundo Kabchi earlier this week, as revealed by SPORT.
The current Premier League champions are well stocked in defence at present, with their preferred centre-back pairing of Ruben Dias and America Laporte supported by John Stones and Nathan Ake, but Araujo’s availability could change matters.
Guardiola still maintains close ties with his former club and has recently conducted successful negotiations with his old side, having sold them Erik Garcia and Ferran Torres.
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Araujo joined Barcelona in the summer of 2018 from Uruguayan side Boston River and has gone on to establish himself as a mainstay in the Blaugrana’s back line having been nurtured in the club’s prestigious B team.
Despite being temporally sidelined by a hamstring injury earlier in the current campaign, the defender has featured 24 times across all competitions this season, even chipping in with two La Liga goals.
Losing the Uruguayan international would be another significant blow to Barcelona, who very much consider him a key part of their future plans.
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Araujo is currently considered Xavi’s preferred partner for the 35-year-old Gerard Pique in central defence and the club will be keen to resolve his contract situation as soon as possible given the increasing interest from around Europe.
The cash-strapped Catalan club’s crippling financial crisis is reportedly said to complicate hopes of an Araujo renewal with president Joan Laporta confirming this week that the club’s debts stand at a mammoth £977million.
Both Manchester clubs experienced quiet January transfer windows in terms of incomings, however, United in particular are tipped to splash the cash in the summer once their managerial situation has been addressed.