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Man United to rival Bayern Munich in race for Ronald Araujo

Manchester United are set to rival Bayern Munich in the race for Barcelona defender Ronald Araujo.

Sky reporter Florian Plettenberg reports that the Red Devils have inquired about the availability of the versatile Uruguayan defender ahead of a potential move.

United are keen to bolster their ranks in the defensive department next summer with Raphael Varane’s future uncertain and Jonny Evans unlikely to secure a contract extension.

OGC Nice’s Jean-Clair Todibo has been the long-term target for United, who will be hoping to use the connections of investor Sir Jim Ratcliffe to secure a deal.

However, United are still exploring other options, and Araujo is the latest in their extensive shortlist that also includes Portuguese duo Goncalo Inacio and Antonio Silva.

United have been informed that it would take an agreement north of €80 million to lure Araujo away from Barca this winter, with Bayern also keen.

However, they may have to wait until summer before making their move amid reports the player has no intention of cutting ties with his boyhood club mid-season.

The 24-year-old, who came through the youth ranks at Barca, has been a staple at the club since 2020, and his stock has risen exponentially over the years.

He remains a pivotal figure in Xavi Hernandez’s first team, making 20 appearances across all competitions this season and will undoubtedly add quality and depth to the United backline.

Barca are in a perilous financial situation, so the Blaugranas may be tempted by the possibility of a big money move for a player who represents pure profit.

United should have the financial backing from INEOS chairman Ratcliffe to complete the deal. But they will face competition from Bayern, who have reportedly earmarked the defender as a priority target.

Araujo didn’t have the best outing at the recent Spanish Super Cup final as he failed to keep up with the pacy Vinicius Junior, who bagged a hat-trick as Real Madrid defeated Barca.

Araujo had a solid defensive performance all round, recording two clearances, three blocks, an interception, and two tackles while winning three out of six ground duels.

However, his performance was undone after giving away a penalty before being sent off for two bookable offences in the second half.