Liverpool would reportedly demand "at least £80 million" if they were to consider selling emerging superstar Mohamed Salah, who is described as a "key figure" in Real Madrid's remodelling plans. However, the player has said he's not interested in a move.
Transfermarketweb (h/t Marc Williams of the Daily Star) reported the fee at which the Reds may start to weigh up a sale, although the Egypt international's departure looks unlikely.
Following the spread of rumours regarding a potential move to Spain's capital, Salah took to Twitter to address speculation and distance himself from the Anfield exit (tweet in Arabic):
Metro provided a translation of the post, which read: "There is a lot of rumours that are false recently, and there will be no comment on them."
Salah further dismissed gossip of a Real switch in an interview with African magazine Soccer Laduma (h/t Goal's Chris Burton): "Well, I have heard so many rumours it does not bother me any more. But I have been treated very well at Liverpool and right now, I belong to Liverpool and I am happy at Anfield. Let us leave it at that."
A winter move for the player is almost certainly out of the question after Liverpool recently sold Philippe Coutinho to Barcelona in a deal that could rise to £142 million.
The Guardian's Sid Lowe laid out the payment plan making up Coutinho's sale, with £106 million of that fee arriving up front.
But while his departure was a major loss, Fox Sports presenter Daniel Garb hailed Salah's rise as a softener:
Daniel Garb @DanielGarb
In Torres, Sterling, Suarez & now Coutinho (2nd highest) - 4 of the 25 priciest footballers ever have departed #LFC. £142 mill is crazy but again it's another special talent leaving & a blow to the campaign, albeit lesser than the one expected pre-season due to Salah's emergence.
Real's interest in Salah appears to be genuine after several sources recently appeared to corroborate the notion Los Blancos are tracking his progress at Anfield.
Italian journalist Gianluca Di Marzio said Real will target Salah as their next Galactico recruit (h/t Manuel Salinero of Spanish daily AS). The Reds already stand to make huge profit on the man they signed from AS Roma this past summer for £37 million.
It's almost impossible to believe Salah would follow Coutinho out of the Anfield exit door in the winter transfer window, and Real boss Zinedine Zidane effectively confirmed the 25-year-old wouldn't be joining Real before this season is over. When asked recently whether he would be signing new players in January, he replied, per Salinero: "We don't need anyone. I don't want anyone."
Salah has netted 23 times in 29 appearances for the Reds this season, and statistician Simon Gleave recently nodded to the Egyptian's Premier League ratio as that of a player taking his chances and then some:
Simon Gleave @SimonGleave
So, here is a list for the Premier League based on @GracenoteLive data: Harry Kane - should have 18 goals, has 18 goals Mohamed Salah - should have 13, has 17 Romelu Lukaku - should have 13, has 10 Alvaro Morata - should have 11, has 10 Raheem Sterling - should have 10, has 14
It's no surprise talk of a move for the winger is intensifying just as Real poster boy Cristiano Ronaldo appears to be on a downward slope at the Estadio Santiago Bernabeu.
Despite struggling during an 18-month spell at Chelsea earlier in his career, Salah has gone from strength to strength under Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp, and he was recently named 2017 African Footballer of the Year, per ESPN FC:
Liverpool look to have unearthed their next unique talent, but as Coutinho's recent sale showed, money tends to talk in football.
Having lost another of their headline stars to Barcelona, with Coutinho following Luis Suarez's path to the Camp Nou, it seems Real will be the next Spanish giant to tempt a Reds talisman.