Man Utd 'pushing hardest' to sign Barcelona defender Ronald Araujo

Barcelona believe Manchester United are their biggest threat to securing the future of centre-back Ronald Araujo.

The 22-year-old Uruguayan has entered the final 18 months of his contract at Camp Nou, and while he is keen to extend his stay, he has already rejected a proposed new deal because he was not satisfied with the salary on offer.

Araujo is prepared to accept a lower wage than he warrants to stay at Barcelona but is aware of his worth as a young starter for a top side and does not want to drop too far from that.

United, Chelsea and Liverpool have all been linked with moves for Araujo in the summer, but Marca believe that Barcelona are most concerned about the Red Devils.

It is claimed that United are readying a huge offer for the Uruguay international and are prepared to pay him a higher salary than any other side, hitting a figure that Barcelona simply cannot come anywhere close to offering.

Those in charge at Camp Nou know that Araujo is worthy of an enormous pay rise - he is still on the same salary as he was in the academy two years ago, believed to be around £14,000 a year - but their well-documented financial issues mean they cannot keep up with the competition.

There are also concerns about interest from Manchester City. Manager Pep Guardiola was recently spotted out for dinner with Edmundo Kabchi, who is, among other things, Araujo's agent.

The purpose of Guardiola's meeting with Kabchi is unknown but Barcelona see it as a signal of intent in their pursuit of Araujo, who has plenty of suitors in the Premier League.

Barcelona know that Araujo's preference is to stay at Camp Nou, but he wants a contract which reflects his importance to the team and his value as a young, experienced centre-back - one of the most valuable commodities in football.

As of yet, they have not matched his demands, but talks are expected to continue over the coming weeks.

Source : 90min