While it looked like Julian Araujo was on his way from the LA Galaxy to European giant FC Barcelona on the Spanish transfer deadline day earlier this week, the deal has not been completed as the appeal filed by LA and Barça after the deal was done “18 seconds” late was rejected by FIFA.
From a FIFA spokesperson: "FIFA can confirm that the transfer of the player Julian Araujo from LA Galaxy to FC Barcelona was not completed in line with the applicable regulations." Just soul-crushing for Araujo. #lagalaxy— Jeff Carlisle (@JeffreyCarlisle) February 3, 2023
Araujo emerged as a transfer target for Barcelona on Tuesday. Initially said to be heading to Catalonia on a loan deal, to Barcelona’s reserve team, the reported agreement ended up being a permanent transfer for $4 million. However, due to a claimed “technical problem” the filing was after the deadline, and even with the clubs looking to FIFA to approve the deal with special dispensation, the global governing body rejected it.
The decision wraps up “Schrödinger’s transfer,” which hung in the air for a full two and a half days, the world not knowing if Araujo was staying with the Galaxy or going to Barcelona. While Araujo fortunately had not jumped on a plane to Europe, the player training away from the Galaxy team on Thursday as he awaited the word, he will officially be on the Galaxy roster until at least this summer.
This is truly terrible for Araujo, anyone can understand why he would want to move to Barcelona, even if he was first headed for their reserve team, but he has to pick his head up and get cracking to start the Galaxy season. But frankly, the teams had a full month to get this deal done, so the idea of trying to push a transfer through after the deadline — even for a claimed “18 seconds” — is fairly absurd. And in this case, on the surface, I’m not blaming the Galaxy here. They’re the selling club, the initiative was on Barcelona to get the job done and not wait until the last eight hours to really get down to business on this deal.
The Galaxy get to keep their starting right back for now, so while they won’t have the money to spend (although bear in mind Barcelona have been functionally insolvent for a couple years, who knows when the check would actually arrive and clear) they probably aren’t more than sad for Araujo that it fell through.
The real disappointment is Araujo’s, and that’s really too bad. I sincerely hope Barcelona complete the deal on the first day of the summer transfer window to make it whole, and they don’t get distracted by the next shiny object and forget all about this. It’s not Araujo’s fault he got stuck in the middle of an administrative error/deadline passing, and he has to bear the consequences. That’s really unfortunate.
We’ll see what happens moving forward, but while Araujo will continue to suit up for LA for the time being, this whole sad affair is an object lesson in people being traded as commodities, and the clumsy outcomes that can result.
What do you think? Leave a comment below.