Recent reports from Spanish media outlet El Nacional (via Sports Illustrated) 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.
With less than eighteen months left on his present contract at the Camp Nou, the Red Devils are reportedly preparing a £33.6m to secure the signing of the Uruguayan defender.
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 that he should be paid in accordance with his current market value, which is quite high.
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.
Even this term, the Rivera-born defender has managed to put up some awe-inspiring numbers on the board – averaging 1.1 tackles, 0.6 interceptions, 2 clearances, 0.6 blocks, and 2.6 long balls per 90 minutes in the Spanish top-flight (taken over 22 appearances). With qualities like aerial dominance, concentration and tackling, he could be one of the best players in his position in the forthcoming years.
The Dream Option For Rangnick?
Manchester United have been quite poor in defence all season, conceding forty goals over twenty-nine game weeks – two more than Burnley. Raphael Varane has been doing decently ever since his arrival from Real Madrid, but Harry Maguire has shown tremendous inconsistency on numerous occasions to 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 serious injury crisis.
Aged 23, 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)