In the final weeks of December, if one were to believe Mohamed Salah's friend and former teammate Mohamed Zika's suggestion he was "99 percent sure" the Egyptian winger would join Liverpool, it seemed entirely possible the club would follow up the January second signing of Daniel Sturridge last January with a similarly quick move this time around. It may be a few hours late for that, but there's always the third. Or the fourth.
For much of Thursday, though, roughly half of the internet was certain Salah was ready to make the move to Anfield, with a number of Egyptian sources suggesting first that a five-year deal had been agreed and later that a medical would take place within 48 hours. This was mostly met with puzzled head-scratching from those who would be expected to have some insight into the Liverpool side of any potential signing.
Then there was the reliably unreliable Mirror reporting that Salah's agent had "categorically dismissed" the notion that his client was on the verge of finalising a deal. However, living up to their reputation for being not all that much better than a random Twitter in the know, they didn't bother to include a quote of Salah's agent categorically dismissing anything, and such quotes have since failed to materialise elsewhere.
And speaking of random Twitter accounts, the day's Salah madness was nicely capped off when a pretend journalist who doesn't actually work for the Telegraph told the world that Salah would join Liverpool for £9M on Friday following a medical. Inevitably, half of the internet—or at least half of its Liverpool-obsessed parts—believed it, at least for a time, briefly breathing new life into a story that by the evening had begun to flag.
The far more reliable Liverpool Echo, meanwhile, continues to believe that while the club has contacted FC Basel about Salah and there is indeed interest in signing him, any negotiations haven't much progressed past that point and no fee has been agreed. If a fee were to be agreed, though, varying reports have suggested it could fall anywhere between £7-13M (€8.5-15M).
The 21-year-old Salah has scored 19 goals in 47 league appearances for FC Basel, while at the national level he has already played 27 times for Egypt and scored 17 goals on the way to establishing himself as the most promising young player for his nation. He may or may not be a Liverpool player by this time tomorrow, this time next week, or this time next year.
In related news, welcome back to the insanity of the transfer window, everybody. Keep your arms inside the vehicle at all times and try to enjoy the ride.