Liverpool and Southampton are closely monitoring the development of Espanyol starlet Marc Roca following his impressive breakthrough in La Liga, according to Marca. The Catalan club have already started negotiations to ward off the Premier League by handing the midfielder a new contract.
The 19-year-old midfielder joined Barcelona's neighbours at the age of 10 and has since progressed through the youth ranks of the club to become a prospect for the future.
Former Watford manager Quique Sanchez Flores was impressed by his skills in midfield during pre-season and decided to reward him with his debut in La Liga in the second game of the campaign against Malaga. Roca took the opportunity with both hands and has since established himself as a regular in Sanchez Flores' line-up, starting in all but one of the five following games.
However, his long-term future at Espanyol has come under scrutiny after emerged that his release clause is currently set at only €1.5m (£1.34m, $1.6m).
Last June Mundo Deportivo already reported that some unnamed Premier League clubs were tracking his development after he had garnered a big reputation in the Espanyol academy.
Now Marca details that interest from Liverpool and Southampton has increased even further in recent week after Roca had proved his worth in the top flight during the first part of the campaign.
The Spanish publication claims that Espanyol have reacted by starting the negotiations with the player to commit his future to the club with a new deal. The idea of Espanyol is to reward Roca with a pay-rise but in exchange increasing his release clause to €40m in order to ward off Liverpool and Southampton.