At the end of November, we relayed news from Spain that Chelsea were ‘ready to take the step’ to sign Barcelona’s Ronald Araújo.

Fast forward to this week and on January 17th, Marca reported the Blues have told the player ‘how much they love’ him and how far they are ready to go to secure his services.

The defender’s current deal runs down in 2023, which includes an annual salary of €900,000, and Xavi Hernández made it clear on Wednesday that extending his contract is now a “priority”.

According to Sport, the 22-year-old’s agent had ‘first talk’ with the La Liga side to discuss his client’s renewal.

There is currently a difference between the two parties as the centre-back wants to be recognised for his performances on the pitch, and he is demanding similar wages offered to Pedri and Ansu Fati earlier this season.

During the first contact, Barca tried to offer ‘significantly lower than’ the €6m per year figure, which is likely what the the Uruguay international had demanded, but Araújo will not commit his long-term future at the Camp Nou for these figures.

The South American is hopeful there will be a formal offer in the next few days, which would at least include a salary that is close to the figure he had requested.

His entourage has a good relationship with Barcelona and have informed them of the ‘interest that the footballer arouses in various Premier League clubs’. Chelsea are among them and are ready to sign Araújo next summer if the Catalan club fail to tie him down to a new deal.

Araújo ‘does not contemplate’ the option to join Thomas Tuchel’s side or another club ‘for now’. However, it is also true that if Barca does not raise the offer, the central defender could understand the club has decided to make him available on the market.

If this happens, Araújo would have to consider the possibility to join Chelsea or any other club who have shown interest in him, with the Blues likely to need a centre-back in the summer, as the likes of Andreas Christensen and Antonio Rüdiger have yet to renew their expiring contracts.