Spanish starlet Marc Roca has agreed a new deal to commit his long-term future to Espanyol following recent speculations linking him with Liverpool and Southampton. Yet, the Barcelona neighbours have confirmed they have raised his release clause to €40m (£34.5m, $43.6m) as part of the agreement in order to ward off potential suitors.
The 19-year-old midfielder is considered as one of the most promising youngster to emerge from the prolific Espanyol academy, which in recent years have overseen the emergence of other big talents like Manchester United summer signing Eric Bailly or Tottenham loanee Pau Lopez.
Roca joined the Barcelona based club at the age of 10 and has since progressed through the youth ranks until earlier this season former Watford manager Quique Sanchez Flores handed him his La Liga debut during the second game of the campaign against Malaga.
The midfielder has since established himself in Sanchez Flores plans ahead of other experienced players, having been surprisingly in the starting line-up in eight of the first 11 games of La Liga.
But his long-term future at Espanyol came under scrutiny after emerged that his release clause was set in only €1.5m.
Yet Mundo Deportivo already reported in the summer, even before Roca's debut with the firs-team, that some unnamed Premier League clubs were ready to take advantage of the situation to turn him into the latest Spanish starlet to make the move to England.
Marca last month detailed that two of the clubs monitoring is development were Liverpool and Southampton. That interest increased even further following Roca's impressive breakthrough into the top flight during the start of the new season.
However, the Spanish publication already alerted Liverpool to act quickly as Espanyol were ready to react to the interest of clubs by offering Roca a new deal. And following weeks of negotiations Espanyol have put an end to those speculations after announcing that the academy starlet has signed a new six-year deal at the RCDE Stadium with a new improved release clause set at €40m.
"Marc Roca has renewed his commitment to Espanyol for the next six seasons," Espanyol have confirmed in the club website. "The young talent has signed a new contract that will link him to the Catalan team until 2022. It set a release clause in €40m."