Real Madrid have ruled out the signing of Kylian Mbappe next summer, according to a report in Spain.
With the superstar Frenchman's blockbuster contract at Paris Saint-Germain set to expire next year, Real Madrid had been expected as his next destination.
Some reports even suggested that Mbappe's move to Los Blancos was a forgone conclusion with terms already agreed amid a spectacular falling-out with PSG during the summer.
The 24-year-old has (so far) refused to extend his terms in Paris while Madrid – whose interest in Mbappe is an open secret – opted not to go big on a new striker in the wake of Karim Benzema's departure, seemingly signing former Stoke City man Joselu as a stop-gap number nine until next summer.
However, according to Cadena Ser, Mbappe will not be Real Madrid's next Galactico with the club 'definitively ruling out the signing'.
Instead, the 14-time European champions will 'end the soap opera' and move on from the player they've spent years chasing, even if he is able on a free transfer.
According to the report, Mbappe is simply too expensive and would not move to the Spanish capital for less than €20m (£17.5m) a year in wages, plus 'very high' bonuses.
This figure presented by Cadena Ser seems a very conservative estimate for what Mbappe would be prepared to accept, with the star's current PSG salary reported to be as much as €72m (£63m) a year.
By contrast, Jude Bellingham, who is currently lighting up La Liga, is on around €9m (£8m) a year.
On top of that, it is said that Mbappe's age – 26 at the end of 2024 – makes him too old for Real Madrid's new recruitment strategy of only spending big on young talent like Bellingham, Vinicius Junior etc.
So, what does this all mean for Liverpool?
One recent report in France claimed the Reds have always remained optimistic about a move for the striker after years of (admittedly tenuous) links, including his mum's supposed love of Liverpool.
The reality though is that it doesn't change much.
If Real Madrid can't afford Mbappe, then he is likely far outside Liverpool's price range – even in the event of Mohamed Salah's departure next summer.
The Egyptian is the Reds' highest-paid player in history on around €20.5m (£18m) a year in basic salary.
In order to land Mbappe, it would take a colossal outlay and change of transfer strategy from Liverpool, who have (for better or for worse) not competed at the very top table financially under FSG's ownership, preferring instead to mould superstars rather than buy them.
The Cadena Ser story is most likely fed from Real Madrid's side as they continue to play tactical games in order to work out a deal for the player Florentino Perez has coveted for years.
Should Real Madrid really drop their interest, however, the second most likely outcome is that Mbappe, realising he will not be nearly as well paid anywhere else (bar Saudi Arabia) will stay put at PSG.