Miguel Araujo Messi
Miguel Araujo alongside Lionel Messi

Reports in Italy have revealed that Lazio director Igli Tare has finally identified his main replacement for Stefan De Vrij. De Vrij’s contract is set to expire in the summer, with the Dutchman likely headed to league rivals Inter Milan on a free transfer. Tare has targeted Peruvian defender Miguel Araujo as the ideal replacement for De Vrij. The 23-year-old defender current plays for Peruvian side Alianza Lima and has 4 appearances for the national side.

Miguel Araujo is a versatile defender, able to play at both centre-back and right-back, allowing for him to cover De Vrij’s absence, as well as providing support for an ageing Dusan Basta. Araujo already has experience in Europe, spending a year for Serbian side Red Star Belgrade and is almost definitely one for the future.

As he is just 23, he may not be the instant impact defender that Lazio need, yet he has put in some big performances this season. He was involved in Alianza Lima’s impressive 0-0 draw with Argentine giants Boca Juniors, helping his side keep out the formidable Boca attack. He also starred in Peru’s 2-0 victory over Croatia in March and has faced off against both Edinson Cavani and Felipe Caicdeo at international level prior.

Transfermarkt value the defender at just €500k, yet this should not disappoint Lazio fans. Igli Tare has an impressive track record with picking up cheap players and turning them into superstars, with Immobile, Milinkovic-Savic, Leiva and De Vrij all fine examples of this. Araujo has suffered an injury for most of this season, keeping him out of a lot of fixtures; yet could the Peruvian be the solution to Lazio’s defensive woes?

What do you think? Is Araujo the next Tare masterclass? Let us know in the comments below or on Twitter @The_Laziali

If you enjoyed this piece, why not check out the 10 Defenders we think Lazio should look to to replace De Vrij this summer.