Manchester United are hoping to take advantage of a contract stand-off between Barcelona and Ronald Araujo, according to reports.
The center-back has been a rare bright spot for the Catalan club in an otherwise difficult first half of the season.
Barcelona sees the Uruguay national team as the cornerstone of their defense in the coming years.
The £ 168m release clause in his contract illustrates how much it is Blaugrana appreciates Araujo.
United, however, believe they have a chance to praise the defender away from Camp Nou.
Araujo has only 18 months left on his contract and Barcelona have made little progress in persuading him to sign on new terms.
The 22-year-old keeps his options open for the time being and United can benefit from Barcelona’s well-documented financial problems.
According to El Nacional, Ralf Rangnick admires Araujo and may push to get his signature in January or next summer.
The German has not been convinced by United’s current options as a central defense, with both Harry Maguire and Raphael Varane both battling in Monday’s 1-1 draw with Newcastle.
Rangnick reportedly believes Araujo has all the qualities needed to thrive in the Premier League.
And the United head coach even believes he can have a similar effect as Virgil van Dijk in Liverpool and Ruben Dias in Manchester City.
These two center-backs put their respective teams on track for the title, and Rangnick believes Araujo could do the same at Old Trafford.
Barcelona will reluctantly let him leave in January, but they may be forced to listen to offers next summer if the Uruguayan enters the final 12 months of his contract.
United would be willing to pay more than £ 30m for the 6ft 2in stopper, who has played 19 games for Barcelona this season.
The Red Devils return to action on Thursday night when Burnley visit Old Trafford.
United have taken seven points from nine possible under Rangnick so far, but their performances have not always been convincing in that time.
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