Jesse Marsch discusses Barcelona's interest in Raphinha

Sean Walsh
Raphinha has been heavily linked with a summer exit
Raphinha has been heavily linked with a summer exit / George Wood/GettyImages

Leeds United boss Jesse Marsch has insisted he has not spoken to Raphinha regarding Barcelona's interest in him.

The Blaugrana have been heavily linked with a move for the Brazil international in recent weeks, but 90min understands that Leeds are confident of keeping Raphinha at Elland Road.

Marsch fielded questions on the forward's future ahead of their Premier League clash with Southampton on Saturday, and while the American revealed he has not talked to Raphinha regarding this speculation, he admitted that he's not surprised that Barça are in for him.

“He is a massive talent and my challenge, despite all of the talk outside, is to have the relationship where we can focus on his development in helping the team while he is here," Marsch said.

“I haven’t had a word with him about Deco or Barcelona. It [Barça’s interest] should be out there because he is fantastic.

“I just want him to become the player I know he can be. Everyone here wants to enjoy the football he can play and of course we want him to stay as long as possible. He’s a fantastic player and very good person.”

Leeds' director of football Victor Orta revealed earlier this week that a release clause in Raphinha's contract will only kick in if they are relegated from the Premier League, though the Whites have moved seven points clear of the drop zone.