Inside Spain: The Good and the Bad for Manchester United, Real Madrid move and Aston Villa interest

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Inside Spain is a weekly instalment brought to you by Football España, providing an insight into all of the major stories coming out of the rich and intense climes of La Liga and beyond.

Barcelona and Ronald Araujo. There are few things that you cannot read about his future, the clubs intentions and what will happen in the summer. Here’s your interpreter.

The Catalan side have been in talks with Araujo for months, but no progress has been made on a new deal, meaning that the offer is not close to where it needs to be. Barcelona maintain they want to keep him, and Araujo that he wants to stay, and both may be true, but the numbers need to work out. Neither side wants to ruin relations with the fans, and so both are playing their cards tight to their chest, until a move is possible at least.

Bayern Munich did make progress with Araujo in January, but that trail has gone cold until they can establish who the manager will be at least. Football España can confirm Manchester United are one of the Premier League sides interested in him, and no doubt would be able to meet his asking price, somewhere between €80-100m for the 24-year-old.

Villarreal playmaker Alex Baena admitted he would love to play for Barcelona on the other hand, but his €60m release clause means that if he does move, Aston Villa are his most likely destination. Remarkably, after spending €30m plus €31m in variables on Vitor Roque, Barcelona are considering loaning him out, which is likely due to the fact he is not having an impact, and will be costly to register next season for their salary limit. The Blaugrana are also in talks with Real Betis and Argentina midfielder Guido Rodriguez, who would at least be free.

Betis appear to have agreed terms with Marc Roca, now they just need to wait and see if Leeds United get promoted or not to. Atletico Madrid supposedly had a pre-contract with Dani Ceballos of rivals Real Madrid, and were reportedly open to offers for Jan Oblak, but the club itself have denied that in both cases.

Between all but securing the La Liga title and drawing with Bayern Munich in midweek, Head Scout Juni Calafat has been in touch with River Plate sensation Franco Mastantuono, while General Manager Jose Angel Sanchez has opened discussions with River. United, Manchester City and Chelsea have all been linked to him, but this is bad news for their hopes – Calafat and Sanchez basically haven’t missed since their tandem secured the signature of Vinicius Junior in 2018. Turns out he’s quite good, as was in evidence this weekend.

Almeria were officially relegated over the weekend, whereas Girona secured European football last week. In bizarre story of the week, Rayo Vallecano were delayed on their flight home from a defeat to Villarreal, and had to end up finding a bus to drive back to Madrid in. Their name means lightning bolt [Rayo], and there’s a red one on their kits and their badge – their aircraft was left out of use by a lightning bolt at the time. Not just that, it’s the second time this has happened this season to Rayo.


More Stories Alex Baena Aston Villa FC Atletico Madrid CF Chelsea FC FC Barcelona Franco Mastantuono Inside Spain Leeds United FC Manchester City Manchester United FC Rayo Vallecano Real Madrid CF Ronald Araujo

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