Barcelona are keen to tie young centre-back Ronald Araújo down to a new contract and have held several meetings with the defender’s representatives to try and get a deal done.
The 21-year-old is now a regular part of the first team, having made three appearances in all competitions this season, but he remains on the contract he first signed when he joined the reserve side back in 2018.
Since his breakthrough back in October 2019, Barcelona have been keen to hand him a well-earned pay rise, and as noted by Marca, talks are now underway over a contract with would see him remain at Camp Nou until 2026.
It is stressed that nobody at the club sees these negotiations as an attempt from Barcelona to gain leverage over the playing squad in their current dispute over a wage deferral. Gerard Piqué’s decision to sign a new contract after siding with the squad left the dressing room divided, but there are no ill feelings towards Araújo’s negotiations.
Finding centre-backs for the future is one of Barcelona’s top priorities these days. With Piqué now 33 years old and Samuel Umtiti seemingly living on the treatment table, club officials want to make sure they have enough options to partner Clément Lenglet for the foreseeable future.
Keeping Araújo around is seen as a great first step, with Barcelona also keen to negotiate a deal to sign 19-year-old Manchester City defender Eric García, who has made it clear he will not be signing a new contract ahead of the expiry of his current deal next summer.
Talks over Araújo’s new deal are said to be progressing well, with only a few minor details left to clarify before everything is sorted.
The Uruguayan is set to earn his fourth start for the club on Wednesday, when he is expected to start for Ronald Koeman’s side against Juventus in the Champions League.
Umtiti remains injured, while Piqué is suspended after being sent off last time out against Ferencváros, so Araújo and Lenglet are the only recognised centre-backs in the squad.
21-year-old academy defender Óscar Mingueza was included on the bench against Ferencváros, and with no other options at Koeman’s disposal, the Spaniard will likely retain his place in the squad against Juventus.
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