'I want the best possible team' – Araujo welcomes Barca competition amid Kounde links

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Ronald Araujo insists he will welcome competition for places at Barcelona amid continued speculation Jules Kounde will join the Blaugrana.

Barca have already signed Andreas Christensen, Franck Kessie and Raphinha despite financial difficulties for the LaLiga side.

Xavi's side have also struck an agreement to bring Bayern Munich star Robert Lewandowski to Camp Nou for a reported €50million, including add-ons.

Ousmane Dembele has penned a contract extension with Barca as well, but the Blaugrana's spending looks set to continue with the Catalan giants reportedly on the brink of purchasing Kounde from Sevilla.

Chelsea and Manchester City have also been linked with the in-demand France centre-back, who Sevilla coach Julen Lopetegui appears resigned to losing.

With Gerard Pique, Eric Garcia, Christensen and potentially Kounde as competition, Araujo suggested he wants the best for Barca to compete, and will welcome any addition to Xavi's squad.

Asked about Kounde after training on Barca's pre-season tour of the United States, the Uruguay international responded: "He is a great player; the best players being at Barca is good for the group.

"They know what I can contribute, my characteristics; what I want is for us to have the best possible team.

"Competition is always good in football because it makes you get the best of you, and players arrive who can contribute. I always say that I want the best for Barca, and that they add to the team."

As for Dembele's extension and the new arrivals, Araujo was quick to express his delight as Barca prepare to challenge Real Madrid for the LaLiga title.

"We all wanted Ousmane to continue in the team," he added. "We know [Lewandowski's] quality; it is tremendous that he is with us.

"Raphinha, Christensen, Kessie also arrived. It's important that good players arrive to continue growing as a team."

Barcelona face friendlies against Inter Miami, Real Madrid, Juventus and New York Red Bulls before their LaLiga opener against Rayo Vallecano on August 13, and Araujo stressed the importance of pre-season.

"It is important to have a good pre-season, at a tactical and physical level. I think it's going to be a nice season," he continued. "It's important to win titles for the group, but you have to go step by step."

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