The Catalan side have advanced on their interest in the 28-year-old as they look for a suitable replacement for the injured Luis Suarez
Rodrigo returned from injury on Saturday as Valencia beat Barca 2-0 at Mestalla through a Maxi Gomez double, handing Quique Setien his first defeat since replacing Ernesto Valverde as coach.
While the Spain international missed training on Monday to have a check-up on his knee in Barcelona, a move to the reigning La Liga champions appears to be on the cards for the Brazilian-born forward.
On Tuesday, Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu confirmed the club’s interest in the 28-year-old and insisted his side will find a replacement for Luis Suarez, who is expected to be out of action for around four months with a knee injury, before the transfer window closes.
Setien heaped praise on Rodrigo last week, describing him as “an extraordinary footballer” ahead of their weekend encounter.
And Valencia coach Celades is not surprised by the Camp Nou outfit’s attempts to snap up Rodrigo, who has four goals and eight assists to his name from 23 appearances in La Liga and the Champions League this season, and says he has discussed the situation with the player.
“Rodrigo is a player who can make the difference, that’s why Barcelona want him,” Celades told a media conference ahead of Valencia’s Copa del Rey clash with Segunda Division B side Cultural Leonesa on Wednesday.
“The negotiation is open and we will not hide.
“Rodrigo and I have talked. I can’t make a private conversation public.”
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Barcelona were this week linked with a move for Sporting CP star Bruno Fernandes, with reports claiming they want to sign him in the summer and send him on loan to Valencia.
Manchester United are already trying to sign the 25-year-old midfielder, though they have been unable to reach an agreement with the Portuguese side.
Barca are three points adrift of leaders Real Madrid following their loss to Valencia; Setien’s men host Leganes in the Copa del Rey on Thursday before welcoming Levante to Camp Nou in the league on Sunday.