Julian Araujo is a 21-year-old right-back who plays for LA Galaxy in MLS and for the Mexican national team. Araujo has played in the Galaxy organization for his entire career, making over 100 MLS appearances for them. Araujo played for the United States at the youth national team level but ultimately decided to represent Mexico at the senior level. He has three caps for them so far. Towards the end of the most recent European transfer window, it was reported that Araujo had drawn interest from Barcelona but there was not enough time for negotiations to progress very far. Whether a move to Barcelona materializes or not it seems clear that some kind of move is on the horizon. So I thought it would be worthwhile to look at why big clubs are interested in Araujo.
Araujo is a very aggressive and proactive defender. He often pinches up the right flank to make defensive plays and is very quick to close players down in general. Defending so aggressively carries some risk of being caught out of position but Araujo’s speed and defensive awareness mean that it is quite uncommon for this to happen to him. Araujo is also a very good 1v1 defender, it is rare to see him dribbled past. He is only average sized but he is very scrappy and his determination is very helpful to his ball-winning ability.
Araujo also offers quite a bit going forward. He is quite a creative passer and very good at creating chances from the wing. Sometimes you see fullbacks just aimlessly lumping crosses into the box but Araujo picks his spots a little better. He does a good job of looking for cutbacks and putting in crosses from more dangerous areas. That said though he also has some weaknesses in his offensive game. His dribbling is only average and his first touch is sometimes a bit lacking.
Araujo is extremely involved in the build-up for the Galaxy. He has a very high percentage of his team’s touches and plays a lot of passes for a fullback. He plays an above-average number of progressive passes, passes to the final 3rd, and passes to the penalty area.
Araujo, as a player who is both young and good, is one of the most obvious buys in MLS for clubs in the top five European leagues. I’m not sure he is quite up to the level of a club like Barcelona (I’m not sure any player in MLS is at the moment) but he could easily play for a mid-table team in one of the big five.