Manchester United have reportedly received a boost in their pursuit of Ronald Araujo as contract negotiations with Barcelona have hit a roadblock.

According to SPORT, Barcelona have hit a standstill in their talks to renew the contract of defender Ronald Araujo, who is a summer transfer target for Premier League giants Manchester United.

Araujo signed for Barcelona from Uruguayan outfit Boston River in 2018 and initially linked up with the club’s reserve team. He made his first-team debut a year later under Ernesto Valverde, but became a regular last season when Ronald Koeman was in charge. The 23-year-old has since established himself as a mainstay at the heart of the Barcelona defence.

Araujo has impressed onlookers with his aggressive style of play, his defensive nous and leadership skills. Widely regarded as one of the best young centre-backs in La Liga currently, he is entering the final year of his contract with Barcelona at the end of the season. Both parties are interested in agreeing a renewal, but talks have not gone according to plans.

As per the report, Araujo is currently one of the lowest-earning members of the Barcelona squad despite his standing as one of Xavi Hernandez’s most important players. The Catalan giants have made a contract offer worth a little over €3 million per year, which does not meet the satisfaction of the player and his camp.

Araujo is hoping that the club offer him a pay packet that reflects his standing within the team. He is believed to be asking for around €6 million per year, a figure similar to what fellow youngsters Ansu Fati and Pedri earn. But Barcelona have shown no indication that they are willing to increase their proposal, leading to an impasse. 

It could work in favour of Manchester United, who are keen on signing Araujo in the summer. The Red Devils have been poor in defence, with Victor Lindelof and Harry Maguire not performing to the level desired. Furthermore, both Eric Bailly and Phil Jones are expected to depart Old Trafford, creating a vacancy in the defensive department that Manchester United will need to fill.

Araujo, to that end, has emerged as a target for Manchester United, who are ready to hand him a contract worth a handsome €8 million per season. The 20-time English champions are willing to shell out a significant transfer fee for his signing, in case talks between the defender and Barcelona break down completely. As things stand, though, Araujo wants to continue at Barcelona. 

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