Deadline given after Man Utd make first ‘offer’ for target as Aston Villa eye shock hijack

Joe Williams
Man Utd transfer target Ronald Araujo
Ronald Araujo has been linked with Man Utd.

Man Utd have been given encouragement in their pursuit of Barcelona defender Ronald Araujo, according to reports in Spain.

The Red Devils are keen to boost their quality in the centre-back department with Erik ten Hag ending the season with Brazil midfielder Casemiro in the back four.

Lisandro Martinez, Harry Maguire, Raphael Varane, Victor Lindelof and Jonny Evans have all picked up injuries this season and Man Utd are looking for some consistency next season.

It has been announced that Varane will be leaving, while Lindelof, Maguire and Evans have all been linked with possible departures over the summer with the latter out of contract.

And there have been reports that Barcelona defender Araujo is their main target for the summer with one report recently claiming Man Utd are ‘on the prowl’ for the Uruguay international.

Last week, one report insisted that Man Utd had made their first ‘offer’ for Araujo with the Premier League side offering Mason Mount and £47m in exchange for the centre-back.

And now fresh reports from Spain insist Man Utd have been given a boost after Barcelona gave Araujo a deadline of this week to decide on whether to accept their fresh contract offer.

Barcelona are looking for a response over their final offer to the player this week ‘for better or worse’ with the Catalan giants prepared to sell him otherwise.

But fellow Premier League side Aston Villa could hijack any attempts from Man Utd to win the battle for Araujo with Unai Emery’s side revealing their ‘desire to present a formal transfer proposal’ at a recent visit to Barcelona.

👉 England squad: Henderson, Rashford omitted but uncapped Liverpool duo, Palace quartet are called up
👉 Mailbox: Why Liverpool had a better season than Arsenal while Man Utd were ‘amazing’
👉 Mediawatch: Arne Slot is a ‘borderland priest’ and loads cleverer than Erik ten Hag, so there

Ten Hag might not be at Man Utd next season after their poor form this season, which saw the club finish eighth in the Premier League and knocked out of the Champions League before Christmas.

And now transfer expert Fabrizio Romano insists the FA Cup final on Saturday could still have a massive bearing on whether Man Utd stick with him for next season.

Romano wrote in his Caught Offside column: “Erik ten Hag’s situation at Manchester United remains really open – the FA Cup final will be important for the Dutch manager. Obviously it’s always a big game because it’s about winning silverware, it’s about getting into Europe, and it’s a prestigious occasion, but it’s also about seeing the proper mentality from Man United.

“The owners want to see a strong performance – of course they know it’s a difficult game against such an in-form Manchester City side, and United have a lot of injuries, so it’s a complicated situation, but they want to see a good mentality, they want to see a reaction from the squad while Ten Hag is in a dangerous situation.

“At the moment it’s completely open – it’s a 50-50 situation for Ten Hag. It’s true that in February/March, he was involved in discussions with people at INEOS to plan for the future, but after the Wembley final there will be a decision on the coach, so Ten Hag knows how important it will be. It’s a crucial moment for Man United and for Ten Hag.

“We know there are many rumours about candidates but I can guarantee at the moment that there is nothing decided in terms of a new coach.

“I can repeat what I said recently, which is that Thomas Tuchel would be happy to return to England again, and that United, even without European football, could be still an attractive destination for him, so what I’m hearing is that Tuchel will not close the door to the Red Devils just because they won’t be in the Champions League or maybe not even in Europe at all next season.

“United will take their time, together with all the people at INEOS, but for sure the FA Cup final will be a crucial moment to decide the future of Ten Hag at Old Trafford.”

READ NEXT: Premier League team of the season features Arsenal trio but no Saka or Odegaard