Premier League clubs are circling Barcelona defender Ronald Araujo

Barça want him to sign a new contract but Liverpool and Chelsea's presence makes it tough

| sport

There's no doubt that Ronald Araujo is Barcelona's most in-form centre-back. If he stays fit, he can mark an era in football. He has it all. He's strong, can carry the ball, is one of the best man-markers in the game and, in attack, he's a real threat at set plays. Barça did well to sign him for €1.7 million and now they want to extend his deal, which expires in 2023. Negotiations have started and the relationship between both parties is good. Barça want to tie him down before the end of 2021 but things have been complicated by the Premier League. Araujo is extremely grateful to Barça but he's not ruling out the possibility of signing a huge contract elsewhere.

Barça are aware of the interest from England. Liverpool and Chelsea are both ready to take the next step next summer, when he moves into the final year of his deal. It seems evident they could offer more money than Barça. If a few weeks ago everything seemed on track, now Barça have work to do.

Ramon Planes signed Araujo for Barça in 2018 convinced that he was a rough diamond that tcould be polished in La Masia to become the defender he is now. The Uruguayan has always been grateful for the confidence deposited in him, given it was a risky move at the time. Talks for him to continue will now pass from Planes to Mateu Alemany, who wants to meet with his agent in Barcelona as soon as possible. Alemany knows that any delay could leave Barça without Araujo, which would be a big mistake.

There are no doubts that Araujo wants to stay. He wants to give back everything Barça have given him as a professional. But he recieves almost 10 times left than some of his colleagues in defence and it's not easy to make up that difference with Barça's current financial position. Barça will try to convince him by giving him a big role, but in the Premier League they pay a lot of money for defenders like Araujo. His continuity at Camp Nou is a genuine priority.

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