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Barcelona determine three-step plan to solve problems in the right-back position

Of the various Barcelona players on loan this season, Julian Araujo has emerged as the biggest surprise in terms of development.

Playing for Las Palmas this campaign, the 22-year-old Mexican star has started 13 games and made 22 appearances for Garcia Pimienta’s side in La Liga playing as the right-back.

In that duration, he has scored one goal, created two big chances, overseen four clean sheets and averages over seven defensive actions per game.

Heading into next season with a shortage of options at right-back once again, it is thus not ruled out that Xavi calls back the player and gives him a run with the first team.

Plan in place

As revealed by MARCA in a recent report, the Catalans have a solid plan in mind to take forward the right-back position next season, a department that has plagued them since the departure of Dani Alves.

Joao Cancelo, should he continue at the club, is the manager’s undisputed first-choice right-back for next season. After all, he will be freed from the shackles of the left-back position once Alejandro Balde returns from injury.

The second key piece in the puzzle is Julian Araujo, who will return to Catalonia and serve as Cancelo’s deputy and backup for the season.

With the duo taking over on the flank, the manoeuvre will also free Jules Kounde from his foreign role and help him return to his niche at centre-back. 

The Cancelo question

Joao Cancelo has been stellar for Barcelona throughout his loan stint, but a few sub-par displays in recent weeks have raised questions over his continuity.

As relayed in a recent update, Xavi and Deco maintain complete faith in the player and insist that he deserves at least another season at the club. The question, however, remains over the feasibility of the operation.

It is unclear at this point if Barcelona can afford the €30 million price tag Manchester City maintain for the player, while their proposal of a loan extension does not sit well with the Premier League side.

The coming weeks will thus be critical to decide if the two European giants can reach an agreement over the future of the Portuguese superstar.

In short, the plan for the right-back spot is straightforward: sign Cancelo, keep Julian Araujo, and return Koundé to the centre-back position.

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