Barcelona look to be the frontrunner in the race to sign Raphinha, but Jesse Marsch wishes to make the most of the attacker while he is still at Leeds United.
As rumors of a transfer to Barcelona surface,Leeds United
manager Jesse Marsch wants to keep cultivating the "fantastic" Raphinha while he is still with the club.
In January, the Brazilian forward was rumored to be a big transfer to West Ham, but he has stayed at Elland Road as Leeds fight to escape relegation from thePremier League
Raphinha, who joined Leeds from Rennes in October 2020, has piqued the interest of a number of Europe's top teams, withBarcelona
appearing to be the pioneers to recruit him.
Barca chairman Joan Laporta acknowledged the club's desire in the 25-year-old after receiving favorable feedback from Raphinha's representative, ex-Blaugrana player Deco.
While Marsch admitted that his star player is in high demand, he underlined his intention to make the most of Raphinha's presence at Leeds for as long as he can.
"He is a massive talent and my challenge, despite all of the talk outside, is to have a relationship where we can focus on his development in helping the team while he is here," he told reporters on Thursday.
"I haven't had a word with him about Deco or Barcelona. It [Barca’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."
Raphinha has been the star player for Leeds in the Premier League this season, creating 56 opportunities in addition to his nine goals and three assists, all of which are team-leading marks.
Only James Ward-Prowse (57), Bruno Fernandes (76), and Trent Alexander-Arnold (77) have generated more chances in the English Premier League than Raphinha, with whom Marsch claims he has not addressed his future beyond the conclusion of the season.
Raphinha, who missed the game against the Wolves because of COVID-19, will be looking to help Leeds' survival chances when they face Southampton on Saturday.
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