Galaxy defender Julian Araujo’s name has been linked with European clubs, but none bigger than Barcelona.
Noted soccer journalist Fabrizio Romano tweeted last week that Barcelona was interested in Araujo ahead of last week’s transfer deadline.
Araujo heard the rumor, but the Galaxy stated they didn’t have any intent on moving their star defender. Galaxy coach Greg Vanney has said repeatedly that Araujo would be here throughout the end of the season.
But still, Barcelona?
“It was definitely surprising,” Araujo said. “It was news to me, but it was something that I had to keep away, but it was there. But I was focusing on the Galaxy. I try to stay off of all social media. When news like that comes out before a game, I try to just focus on the game and keep my head locked in.”
Last year, Araujo, 21, signed an extension with the Galaxy through 2025. He joined the Galaxy Academy in 2018, went to Galaxy II and was promoted to the first team in 2019. Sunday will be his 100th career appearance across all competitions for the Galaxy.
“I think he’s getting more comfortable in terms of his role and where he fits in with the group,” Vanney said. “I think his reading of the game is getting better. His talent has always been the physical aspect of the game, his intensity has always been his strength. Where we’ve challenged him is a little bit more on the game-reading side and the understanding of when to be a little bit inside, when to be outside, when to be in a defensive cover position versus when to take off and be in an attacking position.
“Before when he was young player, it was attack, attack, attack and then you give up some space behind you. I think he’s grown a lot in his emotional management. Now he’s trying to find that cerebral balance.”
Araujo will be the youngest in Galaxy history to reach this century-mark milestone.
“It means everything,” he said of his 100th appearance. “Everything has gone so fast in four years. I’m excited for what’s to come. I’m grateful and proud to be part of this organization.”
The move to Europe will eventually come for Araujo, who said has that his long-term plans are to move to Europe. It wouldn’t be surprising if a move comes to fruition in the winter.
For now, Araujo’s focus is on helping the Galaxy (11-11-5, 38 points) secure a playoff berth. The Galaxy began the week in eighth place in the Western Conference, but is currently on a four-game unbeaten streak.
“I think everybody knows that it (the season) is coming to an end and it’s the playoff push,” Araujo said. “We want to make the playoffs. We want to go for it all this year. We’re playing more as a team, we’re not running as much as we were running. Everybody was on different pages and now we’re just one collective team.”
2002 MLS Cup champions recognized
Members of the Galaxy’s 2002 MLS Cup champion team will be on hand for a pregame signing autograph session (3:30-4:30 p.m.). This is the 20th anniversary of the Galaxy’s first MLS Cup championship.
Martin Cáceres, the Galaxy latest signing, will be available for selection. Cáceres was signed last month to a deal for the remainder of the 2022 season with an option for 2023.
SPORTING KANSAS CITY at GALAXY
When: 5:08 p.m. Sunday
Where: Dignity Health Sports Park, Carson