Barcelona sporting director Deco has confirmed the club have no plans to entertain interest in centre-back Ronald Araujo.
Manchester United and Bayern Munich have both tracked Araujo in recent months in the hope of profiting from Barcelona’s well-known financial concerns, but 90min reported earlier this month that the defender has no interest in leaving at this point.
That commitment has now been backed up by Deco, who brushed off the speculation after Barcelona’s 4-2 victory over Real Betis on Sunday.
“He is one of Barça’s key players of the present and future,” Deco stressed. “We are not considering selling him, we want him to be happy and this is shown on a day-to-day basis.
“There is nothing to talk about. The important thing is that he is here with hunger and heart.”
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Despite ruling out a departure for Araujo, Deco did concede that Barcelona remain unable to sign new players because of their Financial Fair Play dilemma.
“At the moment, we don’t have Fair Play and we can’t sign players,” Deco added. “It’s the same problem as many teams in La Liga, but we keep working.”
Bayern Munich have already recruited Eric Dier as emergency defensive cover this month but United are not expected to make a significant move for a new defender until the summer transfer window, after INEOS’ share purchase is finalised and the club’s new recruitment team has been established.
A summer move for Araujo could be explored but, should he remain unwilling to depart Camp Nou, United are expected to move on swiftly in the hope of avoiding a repeat of the prolonged pursuit of Barcelona teammate Frenkie de Jong which ultimately ended in failure.