Barcelona are planning to offer Ronald Araujo a new contract as they consider the centre-half Everton reportedly explored signing to be an important part of their future, per Marca.

The Catalan outfit want to lock down the futures of several of the future pillars of the Camp Nou ranks. Barcelona stomached a frantic summer trying to offload those on high wages as they desperately strived to reduce their colossal wage bill.

Now, after some sales and some of those who remained accepting pay cuts, the Blaugrana want to retain their core. Along with Araujo, Barcelona intend to hold talks with Ansu Fati, Pedri and Ousmane Dembele over their long-term futures.

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Araujo has struggled to hold down a role under Ronald Koeman at the Camp Nou this year. The 22-year-old ended 2020 as one of the La Liga giant’s first-choice central defenders, but sprained his ankle in February. He would only start five of 12 subsequent league outings.

After a summer in which Araujo emerged as an Everton target, the Uruguayan has started one of Barcelona’s three games. Fabrizio Romano claimed in May that the Toffees rate the three-cap international highly amid their search for new central defenders.

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But the Blaugrana had no interest in selling their 2018 arrival, while the Blues ultimately did not strengthen the position. Rafa Benitez made four summer signings in goalkeeper Asmir Begovic, wingers Andros Townsend and Demarai Gray, plus striker Salomon Rondon.

Now, Everton’s chase has got even harder, as Barcelona want to extend Araujo’s contract and he has declared that his wish is to stay at the Camp Nou. Despite Koeman currently preferring summer arrival Eric Garcia to partner Blaugrana veteran Gerard Pique.

Will Everton rue not testing Barcelona resolve for Araujo this summer?

Everton’s chances of signing Araujo may be over with Barcelona now preparing to offer the defender a new contract. The Camp Nou hierarchy also considering him a pillar of their future will certainly make their resolve harder to crack.

As will his desires to stay in Catalunya, even though he is not Koeman’s favoured choice right now. The Toffees, then, may rue not testing the Blaugrana’s resolve over the summer.

Although, Barcelona could have demanded Everton pay an eye-watering sum for the young centre-back, Araujo, who Koeman has called ‘excellent’. His current £37k-a-week contract includes a €200m (£171m) release clause agreed on his arrival at the club three years ago.