Ernesto Valverde has hailed Real Betis starlet Fabian Ruiz as one of the "surprises" of La Liga but the Barcelona boss refused to confirm recent reports claiming that the Catalans have already made an approach to sign the talented midfielder.

Fabian returned to the Andalucian side in the summer following a loan spell in the second division with Elche.

The 21-year-old has since proved to be one of the sensations of Spanish football at Betis, filling the void left by the summer departure of Dani Ceballos to Real Madrid and also earning himself a place in the Spanish Under-21 side.

Tottenham Hotspur and AS Roma are said to be monitoring the situation, with reports in Italy claiming that the Serie A side are even considering meeting his €15m (£13.2m, $18.4m) release clause to lure him away from Betis during the current January transfer window.

AS said last week that Barcelona and Real Madrid could also battle for his services, with the two La Liga giants having already made enquiries to sound out his availability ahead of a potential future move.

But asked about those reports in a press conference that followed the 5-0 win over Betis on Sunday [21 January], Valverde said: "I cannot say anything. I have no idea [whether Barcelona have made an approach to sign him]. I'm happy with my team.

"I think he's a great player. He has done a great game today. I have seen him get really stuck in, pressing us well. This is his first [full season in] the top flight and he has been one of the surprises of La Liga this season."

Gerard Deulofeu made a surprising substitute appearance in the second half of the game despite reports claiming that the former Everton winger will leave Barcelona before the end of this month.

Last week Rafinha Alcantara also got some minutes in a Copa del Rey clash with Espanyol and is now in Italy completing a move to Inter Milan.

Asked whether Deulofeu could follow the same path as Rafinha in the coming days, Valverde said: "I don't know. I don't know what will happen. His introduction was in the same context as Rafinha's.

"I thought in both cases that they could help us in the game. The other day we were 0-0 and I thought that Rafinha could help us. Today I thought to use Deulofeu depending the circumstances of the game and I have kept the idea even though we were winning."

Rafinha's transfer to Inter is expected to be announced today as Barcelona continue their clear-out to make space for the January arrivals of Philippe Coutinho from Liverpool and Yerry Mina from Palmeiras.

Arda Turan has been the only player to officially leave the Nou Camp so far this month after joining Istanbul Basaksehir on loan but Deulofeu, Javier Mascherano and Aleix Vidal are tipped to follow him and Rafinha before the end of the current transfer window.