Julian Araujo to Barcelona? LA Galaxy coach denies reports about El Tri defender

0831 LA Julian Araujo

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0831 LA Julian Araujo

As part of a domino effect of US men’s national team defender Sergino Dest’s reported move from FC Barcelona to AC Milan in Italy’s Serie A, the LaLiga giants are seemingly in the market for a right back and LA Galaxy defender Julian Araujo’s name has surfaced, among other options, as a possible replacement.

Fabrizio Romano tweeted Wednesday that Araujo has been discussed by Barca, but Galaxy head coach Greg Vanney essentially squashed those rumors as part of his post-match comments following a 2-2 draw against Toronto FC at BMO Field later that evening.

“It doesn’t stand anywhere to my knowledge,” Vanney said. “I don’t know if those conversations are real or anyone’s having them, but for me Julian is here and he’ll be finishing the season with us and we keep moving forward. I haven’t heard anything to the contrary.”

The 21-year-old Mexican international, a two-time MLS All-Star, has been a regular starter for the Galaxy since 2020. He has recorded seven assists for a second consecutive season, logging 24 starts in 26 appearances.

The California native has made three appearances for El Tri after his debut in a 2-2 draw against Chile in December 2021. He’s vying for a FIFA 2022 World Cup roster spot, with decisions likely coming in November from former Atlanta United manager Tata Martino.

Araujo has made no secret about his desire to continue his career in Europe, telling Extratime’s Andrew Wiebe as much at 2022’s MLS All-Star Week presented by Target.

Former Galaxy midfielders Jonathan and Giovanni dos Santos and ex-New York Red Bulls defender Rafa Marquez, all former Mexican internationals, are Barcelona alums. And the Galaxy just acquired 23-year-old Riqui Puig from the Catalan powerhouse, with the Spanish midfielder scoring the late equalizer against Toronto FC.

“My head and my vision is to go to Europe,” Araujo said in August. “I’ve set my head on Europe. I know that to reach my highest potential is to go to Europe.

“I want to play at the top teams, the top leagues, and I’m someone that wants to learn every day and I want to continue to grow and take advice from the best players possible, from the best teams, from the best coaching staff. In order for me to reach my highest potential, I definitely think I need to go to Europe.”

And while that move may materialize in the future, according to Vanney, that’s not occurring – at least to Barca – as Spain’s transfer window closes Sept. 1.

READ MORE: MLS Transfer Tracker presented by Avant

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