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Bayern Munich's pursuit of Barcelona's Ronald Araujo cools as defensive focus shifts

Bayern Munich had set their sights on securing the signing of Ronald Araujo to bolster their defence and mould him into one of their future strategic players.

In January, they initiated talks with coach Thomas Tuchel's backing, but Barcelona remained adamant in their refusal to negotiate.

According to a report by Sport, plans to revisit the option in the summer are now uncertain, with hints from Germany suggesting Araujo's acquisition is no longer a priority. Bayern's focus has shifted towards reinforcing other positions, and Araujo's potential transfer will only resurface if they manage to offload one of their current centre-backs.

The Araujo deal was deemed crucial for Bayern due to their defensive woes this season. The Bavarian club believed all conditions were in their favour for the signing, given Barcelona's financial constraints and their ability to offer the 25-year-old Araujo more than double his current salary. Discussions with the player even took place, yet it is evident that Araujo prioritizes staying in Barcelona, albeit with hopes of reaching a renewal agreement, which seems more challenging than initially anticipated.

Bayern's strategy was to await the breakdown of negotiations with Barcelona to gain the player's complicity. With Barcelona facing a surplus of centre-backs, a substantial offer nearing €100 million could have enticed the Catalan club to balance their budget and aid their financial situation. However, developments have cooled off as defensive performances have improved, and Bayern now face the need to invest heavily in a defensive midfielder and a left-back due to the potential departure of Alphonso Davies.

Araujo has refrained from delving deeply into his situation, expressing his desire to remain at Barcelona in his recent statements while leaving the door open to explore other options in the future. With his contract expiring in 2026 and being one of the lowest earners in the Barcelona squad, negotiations for a new deal have begun. However, the club's salary cap issues make it unfeasible to present a top-tier offer to retain him. Araujo understands that he may need to make financial concessions to stay, although much will depend on the magnitude of the disparities.

For Bayern, it's clear that pursuing Araujo can only be entertained if one of their top centre-backs is sold. Players like De Kim-Min-Jae, Matthijs de Ligt or Dayot Upamecano, would need to depart for a significant sum, making it viable to reignite negotiations for Araujo. 

Meanwhile, Barcelona remain calm, knowing that Araujo is contracted until 2026 with a €1 billion release clause, yet they aim to secure him for the long term. Presently, he is viewed as one of their strategic players for the future, and they prefer to offload other centre-backs to generate income.

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