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Sergio Busquets has taken over the Barcelona captaincy this season following the departure of Lionel Messi in summer 2021 and the Catalans have already decided which player they want to wear the armband next.
Center-back Ronald Araujo is the chosen one, according to Radio Marca’s Alejandro Segura, with the club intending to hand the captaincy to the Uruguay international in the coming years.
Busquets is not going anywhere just yet but will turn 34 in July and is clearly heading towards the end of his trophy-packed career. The midfielder’s current contract at the Camp Nou runs until the end of June 2023.
Meanwhile, Barca are expected to offer a new long-term contract to Araujo in 2022 to secure the defender’s future. The Catalans are working on a five-year deal for the center-back, as reported by ESPN.
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Araujo Talks Barcelona Future
Araujo joined Barcelona B from Boston River for €1.7 million plus add-ons in August 2018 and has already proven an astute signing. The defender has established himself in the first team and is rapidly becoming a key player.
The 22-year-old has also popped up with some important goals for his team so far in 2021-22, scoring for the Catalan giants against both Granada and Sevilla in La Liga this season.
Araujo’s center-back partner Gerard Pique has made it clear just how highly he rates his young team-mate, as per the club’s official website.
“Araujo is a great centre-back, and will be for 10 or 15 years. He has everything. He is very young and has a very good head. Also, he is physically strong, fast and powerful, and has good ball control,” he said. “La Masia is working very well and during his time in Segunda B with the youth team he matured, and now with the first team he has taken the opportunity. We need to help him to be the best player possible.”
Meanwhile, Araujo spoke to ESPN about his future back in May 2018 and made it clear he wants to continue at Barcelona, as reported by Marca.
“I’m very happy in Barcelona. I hope to be here for many more years and give my best in every season,” he said. “I have one more season of contract left [until 2022], but I’m calm. I hope I can stay at the club.”
Premier League Clubs Keen On Araujo
Yet Araujo’s performanes have not gone unnoticed around Europe, prompting clubs including Liverpool, Chelsea, and Manchester United to take an interest in the defender, according to Diario Sport.
Araujo wants to stay at Barcelona but hopes his importance to the team can be reflected in an improved salary. The Uruguay international’s current wage is described as being “light years away from the salaries of Umtiti or Gerard Piqué and also very far from Lenglet.”
Barcelona have already taken steps to tie down key youngsters this season, with both Ansu Fati and Pedri committing their futures to the club. Teenage midfielder Gavi is expected to be next, while Barca could then turn their attentions to Araujo.
The defender is one of six players manager Xavi has already admitted the club “can’t afford to lose.” He’s also already been compared to Carles Puyol during his time at Barcelona and could follow in the club legend’s footsteps by wearing the armband at the Camp Nou.