Xavi Hernandez's wish to keep Ronald Araujo at the Camp Nou for the foreseeable future seems to be coming true with Barcelona nearing an agreement with the central defender. The Uruguayan's current deal expires in 2023, and the Catalan club had made it a priority to tie him down to a new long-term deal before the end of the month.

Araujo has emerged as a key member of Xavi's first-team squad and the club are keen to repay him with a new deal. Barcelona have been in talks with the Uruguay international's representatives since the start of the year, but are yet to reach an agreement.

According to Mundo Deportivo, the La Liga giants and Araujo's agents are now in the final stretch of negotiations over an agreement that suits both parties. A breakthrough was made in January, but talks were deferred as Barcelona were concentrating on bringing in new signings over handing new contracts.

English Premier League outfits Manchester United and Chelsea were alerted to Araujo's contract standoff and were keen to bring him to England. The Red Devils were the front runners, while the Blues are looking for replacements for three of their defenders, Antonio Rudiger, Andreas Christensen and Cezar Azpilicueta, who are out of contract in the summer.

However, Araujo is said to be keen to remain in Barcelona and build a career at the Camp Nou. The Uruguayan centre-back's desire to remain in the Catalan capital is one of the reasons they have made progress in the contract talks, while it has also forced the Spanish club to improve their initial offer although it is thought to be far from what the English giants were offering.

Araujo's new contract will be a mini victory for Barcelona, and they will then turn their attention to Gavi, whom Xavi is also keen to keep at the Camp Nou. The 17-year-old midfielder is reportedly assessing his options and Liverpool have made their interest known with a much more lucrative offer than what Barcelona are currently offering.

Newly-appointed Barcelona coach Xavi Hernandez (right) alongside club president Joan Laporta at Camp Nou on Monday. LLUIS GENE/AFP