The transfer stories involving Mohamed Salah just won't go away.
A number of outlets have continued to speculate that Liverpool's all-time top Premier League scorer could be seduced by the petro-riches of the Pro League, while David Ornstein is the most credible journalist yet to report that Al Ittihad (Fabinho's new club) are interested.
Earlier this summer a report from the Mirror claimed that Salah, along with Man City's Kevin de Bruyne, was top of the wish list for Saudi Arabia as they continue to target stars for the Middle East.
But could a deal actually happen?
In short, not this summer. Unlikely.
In case you missed it, Salah's agent, the famously outspoken Ramy Abbas, shot down any talk of Salah changing clubs back at the start of August when the rumours first flared up.
If we considered leaving LFC this year, we wouldn’t have renewed the contract last summer. Mohamed remains committed to LFC.
— Ramy Abbas Issa (@RamyCol) August 7, 2023
Posting on Twitter on 7 August, he wrote definitively: "If we considered leaving LFC this year, we wouldn't have renewed the contract last summer. Mohamed remains committed to LFC."
The next day, Abbas responded to another account's tweet which had claimed that Salah is "100% open to a move to Saudi Arabia in the future but he wants to wait and see the project before he makes a decision next year."
Abbas replied, "Neither Mohamed nor I discussed this with anyone."
Salah current Liverpool contract – as signed last summer – runs until 2025. He is reportedly the highest paid player in the Reds' squad on around £350k a week in basic pay.
He remains the club's most important attacking player and biggest goal threat, having averaged over 25 strikes a season in all competitions and won three Premier League Golden Boots since joining in 2017. He is also part of the club's new leadership group.
As Jurgen Klopp's team continues in its transition after a difficult 2022/23 season and a summer of upheaval, Salah remains as integral as ever. Letting him leave now, with less than a week left of the transfer window seems totally preposterous.
However, while any stories linking Salah with a move this summer can be dismissed out of hand, there are legitimate question marks about what will happen next year.
One year from now the Egypt captain will be 32 and have just one year left on his contract. It will put Liverpool in a position where they have to make a decision on whether to extend the club's most expensive contract deep into the player's mid-30s, or think about cashing in before he can leave on a free transfer.
While Saudi interest now means little, it could become a lot more serious next summer. The aggressive level of investment seems unlikely to be gone in 12 months' time and there is little doubt about the appeal of having (arguably) the Arab world's biggest sporting star playing in the Saudi Pro League.
It may not just be Saudi clubs keeping an eye on the situation either. Paris Saint-Germain have occasionally been linked with Liverpool's number 11 and are entering a new era, having shed Neymar and Lionel Messi. Next summer, they may be in search of a marquee replacement, should Kylian Mbappe for Real Madrid leave as expected.
There is also Spain. Back in 2021, Salah responded to a question from Marca about whether he would would like to play in La Liga one day with the answer, "Why not? No one knows what's going to happen in the future, so... maybe one day, yes."
There is, however, also the option that Liverpool and Salah extend the contract again, taking his stay beyond 2025.
That would be a risk, given the cost and the player's age, but Salah's physical condition and fitness record is (famously) near unparalleled and it's plausible that he could well stay at an elite level up to and beyond 35 years of age – in the same vein of Robert Lewandowski, Lionel Messi and Luka Modric. For some context, only three of 2022's Ballon d'Or top ten were under the age of 30, showing age is just a number in modern football.
Salah remains beloved at Anfield in a way very few players have ever experienced. From his perspective, as long as Liverpool are still competitive and he is kept happy, there might still worlds to conquer here.
44 more goals could put him into the top five of the Premier League's all-time scorers, while just 41 more goals see him move him joint-fourth in the Reds' overall all-time list.
Ian Rush recently revealed that Salah has been joking with him about eyeing up the top spot. The Liverpool legend said: "Mo keeps saying why did you score so many goals. He is thinking he might break my record."
He'd need 160 more to get that particular crown. It seems highly unlikely, but with Mohamed Salah you just never know...