Premier League transfer news – Manchester United, Bayern Munich and Arsenal like Barcelona’s La Liga winning defender Ronald Araujo.
That is the assessment of Deco, a Blaugrana hero in his playing days now attempting to build on his Camp Nou legacy in his current role as the club’s sporting director.
Sky Germany reported that Manchester United, amongst a whole host of rival top-flight clubs, have informed Barcelona that they would love to take the highly-rated Ronald Araujo off their hands if the Uruguayan becomes available for transfer at a club still battling with serious financial concerns.
But Deco insists that the reigning – and soon to be former – La Liga champions would not cash in on one of Europe’s most exciting young centre-halves even if Araujo’s exit freed up funds for the arrival of Kylian Mbappe from PSG.
Manchester United like Barcelona’s Ronald Araujo
“I do not know what will happen with Mbappe. But it would not be a good idea to sell Araujo or Frenkie (de Jong),” Deco tells Esport 3, ruling out the departure of a current United target as well as an old one.
“I do not want to worsen the squad. (Selling Araujo and De Jong would be) like removing an arm and a leg. It would be a mistake, and it would only make the team’s situation worse.”
Araujo, also on the radar of Bayern Munich, Arsenal, Chelsea and Newcastle United, is valued at £68 million (Sky). The 24-year-old could therefore be a lot more affordable than, say, Jarrad Branthwaite.
Everton are reportedly hoping that their homegrown centre-half will be the latest Englishman to switch clubs for a nine-figure sum after Jack Grealish and Declan Rice.
Suggestions that INEOS will prioritise young, English-based players as part of a new, data-driven approach to recruitment, however, means that Branthwaite is likely to remain near the top of United’s wishlist regardless of the size of his potential price-tag.
Araujo, meanwhile, is certainly aware of the speculation linking him with a move to Old Trafford.
‘Rumours of all kinds’
“In every transfer window, there are rumours of all kinds. It’s normal,” Araujo, who has been praised publicly by United legend Rio Ferdinand, tells Goal.
“The only thing I can say is that I’m focused on the team and also on this club. I’m comfortable here and I always try to give everything for this shirt.
“There are always rumours that appear in all windows. There was talk in the summer about Manchester United, but I am focused on Barca. And I will always give 100 per cent.”
Man United are also eyeing Leny Yoro of Lille. Portuguese duo Goncalo Inacio and Antonio Silva are options too.
- NEW: Sign up to our United In Focus WhatsApp channel