£86m Liverpool-linked centre-back could leave as Barcelona are 'willing to listen to offers'

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Liverpool transfer news: The Barcelona defender has reportedly had his squad status changed after recent performances.

Ronald Araujo - who has been linked with Liverpool in the past - is reportedly a player that Barcelona are willing to listen to offers for this summer.

Araujo, 25, has been heralded as one of the best defenders in La Liga and stands as one of the highest-value centre-backs in European football. Despite that, the Catalan giants could be open to selling him this summer. Liverpool are set to depart with Joel Matip this summer as his contract expires and with a new manager set to arrive and reports claiming a defender could be brought in regardless this summer, this news is certainly timely as it is interesting.

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According to a report from Spanish outlet Sport, Araujo is no longer considered an 'untouchable' and Barcelona 'will listen to offers' for the defender - and the Uruguayan has two years left on his deal which suggests he could be acquired this summer but a sizeable fee will be required. A fee of €100million (£86m) has been claimed and there is interest from both Manchester United and Bayern Munich. In terms of Liverpool, they have been credited with interest as recently as late-2023 (90min) and Araujo even explained there was strong interest from Premier League clubs when he opted to stay and sign a new deal at Barcelona in 2022.

Despite being arguably their best defender, the emergence of 17-year-old prospect Pau Cubarsi could help to soften the blow as the academy graduate has been sensational since breaking into the first-team. They have Inigo Martinez, Andreas Christensen, Jules Kounde and Marcos Alonso who has been able to fill in at centre-back when needed which means the club are able to part ways and accept the huge fee that would be needed to sign him. His sending off against Paris Saint-Germain in their Champions League quarter-final was heavily criticised as the Spanish side threw away their 4-2 lead on the night.

The 2022/23 La Liga champion is nearing 150 appearances for the club and he’s developed a strong reputation in Spain over recent years for being a physically strong, quick and adept ball-playing centre-back. His recovery pace is famed and he has been able to deal easily with the likes of Real Madrid star Vinicius Junior in a foot race. With that confrontation leaving the Brazilian to dub Araujo as ‘the best defender’ he had ever faced (Planet Sport). However, Vini got his revenge in the ‘El Clasico’ on Sunday evening as Madrid ran out 3-2 winners to all but confirm the La Liga title.

In fact, he was Barcelona’s second-quickest player in the Champions League this season with a top speed of 34.5 km/h. That’s some way off the fastest player in Europe’s top five leagues in Tottenham’s Micky van den Ven (37.38 km/h) but he remains someone who could effortlessly slot into Liverpool’s high-line.

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