Who is Ronald Araujo and why is he being linked to Manchester United?

Manchester United’s long-term managerial situation may be unclear but the club is always looking for the best talent around.

So it should not come as a surprise United are being linked to players despite Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s sacking and the short-term nature of Ralf Rangnick’s expected managerial reign.

ESPN report United are tracking the progress of Ronald Araujo, who plays for Barcelona.

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Who is Ronald Araujo?

He is a 22-year-old central defender from Uruguay who has made 13 Barcelona appearances this season.

It has been a tough season for Barca, who now have Xavi at the helm, but Araujo has been one of the better performers.

The big issue for Barcelona is Araujo’s contract. His current deal expires in 2023.

And ESPN report that the financial issues at the Nou Camp will prevent them offering the defender the terms he wants.

How much could he cost?

Araujo has a release clause in his contract of £171 million. However, due to his expiring deal, Barcelona would be forced to accept far less than that.

Their money troubles also means they are not in a position to demand huge fees when selling players.

All offers will have to be considered. If United made a speculative bid, Barcelona would have to seriously weigh it up, as much as they would be reluctant to do so.

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Is anyone else interested?

Araujo was linked with Everton during the summer transfer window, and their Merseyside rivals Liverpool are also mentioned in the ESPN report.

Sources said that Liverpool are particularly keen on Araujo and have watched him throughout the year.

Talented midfielder Ilaix Moriba refused to sign a new Barcelona deal in the summer and left for RB Leipzig.

The Catalan giants do not want the same to happen with Araujo, but his contract situation may force them to sell.

United could have to battle their bitter rivals for his signature, if Rangnick decides he is a target worth pursuing.

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Sam Preston is an NCTJ gold standard news and sports journalist who studied with the Press Association. He also has a 2:1 law with French law degree from the University of Birmingham, which included a year studying at Bordeaux Montaigne University. He is an FA Level 1 football coach who appeared on the BBC’s Victoria Derbyshire show in 2018 and has also written digital football content and match-day programme pieces for Colchester United, Mansfield Town and Stockport County.