Wednesday, October 5, 2022

Manchester United ‘Strongest Bidders’ For Barcelona Defender: Rangnick’s Dream Option?

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Pratik Das
The youngest member of The 4th Official and an ardent Premier League fan who is basically obsessed with scouting young talents and is consumed by the idea of finding the perfect number 10.

Recent reports from Spanish media outlet Marca state that Manchester United are keen on signing Barcelona centre-back Ronald Araujo in the upcoming transfer window as Ralf Rangnick looks set to add to his options in defence.

The report further revealed that the Red Devils are ‘bidding the strongest’ to land the 22-year-old Uruguay international.

“The English club is willing to make a large investment in the player who has not yet reached an agreement with Barcelona for his renewal.” – The translated version of the report stated.

Barcelona have been trying to renew his contract since before the Covid-19 pandemic in March 2020, but the player has refused multiple offers as he believes he should be paid per his current market value, which is very high. With just eighteen months left on his present contract at the Camp Nou, Pep Guardiola has also set his sight on a potential transfer for the world-class defender. The Spaniard was pictured dining with the player’s agent Edmundo Kabchi earlier this week.

Araujo’s 2021/22 Season In Numbers

Having come through the ranks at Uruguayan Primera Division club Rentistas, Araujo signed for Barcelona’s B side in the summer of 2018. He got promoted to the senior team in October 2020, and it would be an understatement to say that his development over the past year has been impressive. The number four is currently Xavi’s first-choice partner for 35-year-old Gerard Pique at the heart of Blaugrana’s defence, so losing him could hurt a significant part of their future plans.

Chelsea (Ronald Araujo)
SEVILLE, SPAIN – DECEMBER 21: Ronald Araujo of FC Barcelona battles for possession with Alejandro Gomez of Sevilla during the LaLiga Santander match between Sevilla FC and FC Barcelona at Estadio Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan on December 21, 2021 in Seville, Spain. (Photo by Fran Santiago/Getty Images)
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Even this term, the Rivera-born defender has managed to put up some awe-inspiring numbers on the board – averaging 1.1 tackles, 0.8 interceptions, 1.9 clearances, 0.5 blocks, and 1.9 long balls per 90 minutes in the Spanish top-flight (taken over 16 appearances). With qualities like aerial dominance, concentration and tackling, he could be one of the best players in his position in the forthcoming years.

Rangnick’s Dream Option?

Manchester United have been relatively poor in defence all season, conceding thirty goals over twenty-one game weeks – three more than bottom-placed Burnley. Raphael Varane has been doing decently ever since he arrived from Real Madrid, but Harry Maguire has shown tremendous inconsistency on numerous occasions at the back.

Victor Lindelof has done enough to prove that Rangnick could depend on him in the hour of need. Eric Bailly and Phil Jones haven’t got too much game time yet, but one can conclude that they won’t be handed a start until and unless there’s some severe injury crisis.

Aged 22, Ronald Araujo could turn out to be an exciting addition to United’s present squad as it would provide them with quality depth in defence. Although the demands could potentially damage United’s wage structure, signing him might be possible with a few exits in summer.

(Stats from WhoScored)

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