Pep Guardiola’s meeting with Edmundo Kabchi, the agent of Ronald Araujo has rung alarm bells in the Barcelona entity. The Uruguayan has already turned down an offer from the Catalan giants and reports have emerged that both Liverpool and Manchester City are planning to cash on the financial crisis at the Camp Nou, as per a report from Spanish outlet Sport.
Araujo, 22, has been a rock in Barcelona’s backline ever since he debuted for the first team in 2019. The center-back has been the linchpin of a fragile defensive unit this season, already drawing comparisons with the likes of club legend Carles Puyol with his stubborn defense and ability to dominate in 1v1s.
The 22-year-old has made 24 appearances for the Blaugrana this season, scoring 2 goals. He has been the solitary spark in otherwise a lackluster Catalan side which is in disarray, knocked out from the UCL and Copa Del Rey campaigns. However, the Uruguayan seems to be one of the lowest-paid players at Barcelona on an annual salary of £5 million.
The South American’s contract at the Camp Nou expires in the 2023 summer by the old terms. The Spanish giants have already made progress in their negotiations with the Uruguayan’s agent but haven’t been able to tie down a new contract thus far as it didn’t meet the player’s demands, the source adds.
With a release clause of £167 million set in his current deal, Araujo has attracted interest from a host of English clubs with Manchester City and Liverpool leading the pack. Guardiola has been a household name in Catalunya and if Barcelona lose their center-back eventually then you would presume that the former Barcelona manager has the contacts to beat the Reds to his services, the source claims.
Manchester City have one of the potent backlines in Europe with the likes of Kyle Walker, Ruben Dias, Aymeric Laporte, and Joao Cancelo. The defending champions have conceded the least number of goals this season with 14 goals across their 23 Premier League fixtures.
If at all the Skyblues manage to combine the lethal duo of Araujo and Dias, it would make them a force to be reckoned with.
With that said, Barcelona won’t want to lose Araujo especially given his warrior mentality which propelled him in playing the match against arch-rivals Real Madrid in the Spanish Super Cup semi-final which was within a week of his metacarpal surgery. Surely a side wouldn’t want to part ways with a man who stayed 120 minutes on the field with two screws in his hand, patrolling the backline against the likes of Benzema and Vinicius Jr.
In my opinion, Araujo’s renewal is just a matter of time with the 22-year-old tipped to follow the path of his fellow mates in Ansu Fati and Pedri penning down a new contract until 2027.
A last-minute surprise is highly unlikely given the fact that Araujo is touted to be an asset and a future leader for the Blaugrana.