Barcelona open to Araújo transfer for right offer – sources

Barcelona will consider letting Ronald Araújo leave if they receive an offer close to €100 million ($109m) for the centre-back, sources have told ESPN.

Bayern Munich expressed an interest in Araújo in January and sources at Barcelona believe the German champions will return with an offer in the summer.

Stream on ESPN+: LaLiga, Bundesliga, more (U.S.)

Another source told ESPN at least one big Premier League club are also monitoring the situation and are ready to make a move if Barça do finally encourage bids.

Araújo, 25, last renewed his contract with Barça in 2022, penning a deal until 2026 with a €1 billion ($1.1b) release clause, a sign that the club considered him a key part of their long-term future.

The Uruguay international remains a regular in the side, but Barça are aware they need to raise money this summer and he is one of the players in the squad with the biggest market.

“My future depends on the club,” Araújo told reporters after Barça booked their place in the Champions League quarterfinals on Tuesday with a 3-1 win over Napoli.

“Everyone knows that I am happy at Barça. And I am really grateful to [coach] Xavi [Hernández] for the faith he has placed in me.”

Araújo played 90 minutes in the victory over the Italian champions, but the reality is that, following the emergence of 17-year-old Pau Cubarsí, Barça are well covered in the middle of defence.

In addition to Araújo and Cubarsí, they also have Jules Koundé, Andreas Christensen and Iñigo Martínez competing for the centre-back position.

Barça president Joan Laporta said last week he “would hand Araujo a lifetime contract” if it was up to him.

However, sources have admitted to ESPN there is an internal debate about the possibility of having to transfer an important player to raise funds.

It is a conundrum the club have regularly faced in recent years. In 2022, they reluctantly opened the door for Frenkie de Jong to leave the club, negotiating a transfer with Manchester United, although on that occasion the Dutchman stood firm in his desire to stay in Spain.

The club will seek less drastic solutions first and hope to receive offers for other players who are not as integral to their plans for next season and beyond.

However, they are conscious that due to his age and his performances, Araújo is one of their most valuable assets and they may have to let him go if they don’t find other financial solutions.

Barça are currently in excess of their €204m LaLiga-imposed annual spending cap by almost €200m and the league president Javier Tebas said this month that they will be forced to make big decisions this summer to avoid breaching their limit.

“Barça have options on the table that the club hierarchy can take if they believe it will provide solutions to [their financial problems],” Tebas said at an event in London.

“They have two or three top level players that they could transfer. That would solve a big part of the problem.”

Barça have previously sold assets, including a percentage of their future television rights, to help balance their accounts, but on this occasion a big money transfer may be the only solution.

The situation stems in part from the so far unsuccessful sale of 10% of Barça Studios.

The German investment fund Libero agreed to pay €40m for the stake, but they have not yet complied with the agreement despite the fact that the club extended the payment deadline until last December.