Marco Reus, more meme than realistic transfer target for Liverpool last summer, the player fans spent months trying to will from pipe dream to real thing, is beginning to have his future talked about for real now. Rather seriously, given the rumoured £20M release clause that kicks in next summer.
That means that for most, the assumption is that Reus won't be at Borussia Dortmund come next season. That he might depart even sooner if some club outside of Germany comes along in January and offers Dortmund a significant enough premium on that release clause to make the German side willing to let him go six months early.
Speculation about a move to Liverpool this past summer may have been largely fan-driven, an amusingly backwards case of people chanting Reus' name until it became so connected to the club that even owner John Henry was dropping Twitter references to it. So where are Liverpool now that it looks like he could really be moving on?
Not in the running. At least on the early returns, which have Madrid, Barcelona, and Chelsea leading the chase. Given what all three could offer Reus, this isn't a surprise. It also speaks to what every Liverpool fan chanting his name last summer well knew: once his £20M clause did come into play, Liverpool were out of the running.
Liverpool may get linked to him again. Given the past links, fan-instigated or not, it's probably inevitable that they will be. Perhaps if the club had continued this season in the title challenging style of last, there would even have been an outside chance of Liverpool being a legitimate player when it came time to determine Reus' future.
For all intents and purposes, though, with Reus' £20M release clause looming and some of Europe's heaviest hitters entering into the fray, Liverpool's role is now to sit on the sidelines and watch. The thought of Marco Reus in Liverpool red was fun while it lasted, though.