It seems Jordan Henderson is actually considering ending his 12-year stay at Liverpool, in favour of a move to Saudi Arabia.
The 33-year-old was identified as a target of new manager Steven Gerrard at Saudi Pro League side Al-Ettifaq last week, with exploratory talks held.
Most initial reports brushed off suggestions that Liverpool's captain could and would actually leave Anfield for the Middle East, but things ramped up on Wednesday with widespread reports that Henderson is considering (and, according to The Athletic, leaning towards) joining Gerrard in the city of Dammam.
A decision from Henderson is expected in the next couple of days. If he does decide he wants the move and the Saudi club submit an official offer, Jurgen Klopp and the Liverpool hierarchy will have a big decision to make.
The England international still has two years to run on his current Reds deal, and is clearly a hugely important figure at the club, even if he might expect diminished game time in 2023/24, following the arrivals of Alexis Mac Allister and Dominik Szoboszlai.
However, Klopp also knows that keeping an unhappy player is good for no-one and the money Liverpool would receive in a transfer fee, plus the amount freed up on the wage bill, could be pivotal for future signings.
How the next few days play out will be very interesting, with both player and club surely looking to resolve the situation as quickly as possible now that pre-season has already begun.
So just why is Henderson considering leaving Liverpool — where he has made nearly 500 appearances and been captain since 2015 — for a club that finished seventh last season in a far inferior league? In addition to his status at Liverpool, the midfielder will also have to consider his England future. Still an important player for the Three Lions, and with Euro 2024 just one summer away, Gareth Southgate is perhaps unlikely to select a player outside of Europe.
The obvious reason, then, in favour of a move to Saudi Arabia is (of course) money.
Saudi Pro League clubs have made a concerted effort in recent months to boost the profile of the league with the signings of some big (if ageing) names. Cristiano Ronaldo joined Al-Nassr in January of this year, while Ngolo Kante, Karim Benzema and Roberto Firmino are among the stars to sign big-money deals with Saudi clubs this summer.
It is reported that Firmino is being paid an annual salary of £17m (well over £300k a week), while deals for the likes of Benzema and Ronaldo are much higher still.
How much is the contract offer?
The offer on the table for Henderson is described as "life-changing". The Daily Mail reports that Al-Ettifaq plan to offer Henderson £700k a week (or £36.4m a year), nearly quadrupling his current Liverpool salary — which is said to be in the region of £150k a week.
There are also suggestions that the salary Henderson receives could be tax-free.
In European football, only Neymar and Kylian Mbappe (both PSG) currently earn more per week than the £700k-a-week deal being offered to Liverpool's captain.