Man Utd 'prepare world-record talks' as Barcelona star open to blockbuster transfer

Man Utd are eyeing Ronald Araujo. (Image: Getty)

Barcelona defender Ronald Araujo is reportedly open to pursuing a move away from the club if his blockbuster demands are met this summer. Manchester United are said to be preparing transfer talks with the prospect of breaking the world-record fee for a defender for a second time.

The Red Devils made history with their £80million deal to sign Harry Maguire from Leicester City in 2019.

Since then, Raphael Varane and Lisandro Martinez have arrived for a combined £91m, and Jonny Evans returned on a free transfer.

However, United will likely leave the summer transfer window in a much different defensive shape than when they entered it.

Varane and Evans are out of contract in June, while Maguire and Victor Lindelof are entering the final 12 months of their deals in M16.

Sir Jim Ratcliffe is expected to sanction two central defensive signings as part of an overhaul – potentially a right-sided Varane replacement and left-sided competition for Martinez.

And United are reportedly preparing to take advantage of Barcelona’s frosty financial situation by making an audacious move for Araujo.

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Man Utd need to replace Raphael Varane. (Image: Getty)

According to CaughtOffside, the Old Trafford giants are ready to enter discussions with Araujo’s representatives over a potential £85m swoop this summer.

It’s claimed that the 25-year-old – a crucial part of Xavi’s plans – would be to remain in Catalonia, a stance shared by Barcelona.

However, the Blaugrana’s financial complications will once again come into play, and they are said to be considering offloading some big-name stars at the end of the season.

The report adds that Barca would consider offers in the region of £85m, which would make Araujo the most expensive defender in history.

The Uruguay international would be willing to leave the Nou Camp if he were offered a long-term contract with a competitive salary.

United are also limited by Financial Fair Play this summer, though, and would have to sell to buy beyond Araujo’s arrival amid reports they can afford no more than a £100m net spend.

Several players are thought to be up for sale, as well as those out of contract. Tom Heaton and Anthony Martial, along with Varane and Evans, are set to leave as free agents.

United will reportedly look to generate transfer fees from the sales of Aaron Wan-Bissaka, Victor Lindelof, Casemiro, Christian Eriksen, Donny van de Beek, Jadon Sancho and Mason Greenwood.