Barcelona have begun working behind the scenes to sign Mohamed Salah from Liverpool as Xavi and Joan Laporta look to pull off a major coup, according to reports in Catalonia.
The Egyptian forward is viewed by many as the best player in the world due to his phenomenal tally of 15 goals and six assists in 15 appearances this season.
His importance to Reds boss Jurgen Klopp cannot be overstated, but he has previously left the door open to moving to Spain.
With just over 18 months remaining on his contract, Salah's Anfield future has been called into question and his La Liga links have intensified.
What is Mohamed Salah's market value? Have your say in the comments!
Talks between Liverpool chiefs and the former Chelsea star have dragged on for many months without progress and the situation is reaching a critical point.
El Nacional reports Barca are primed to capitalise if no extension is agreed and Salah's agent, Ramy Abbas Issa, has already received calls from across Europe.
The Barcelona-based outlet adds Laporta is under pressure to make a marquee signing after losing Lionel Messi, Antoine Griezmann and support from many 'socios' (members) in his second term as the club's president.
Xavi is believed to have been 'seduced' by Salah's ability and views him as the player most similar to Messi, who joined Paris Saint-Germain on a free transfer last summer.
The Blaugrana have no concerns over the player's age and Laporta will offer everything at his disposal to prise him from Merseyside next summer.
Salah will be 30 by then, and this partly explains why Liverpool appear unwilling to hand him a lucrative new contract.
That being said, they are also hugely reluctant for another talismanic star to follow Luis Suarez and Philippe Coutinho by departing for Camp Nou.
Has Mohamed Salah been Liverpool's best player this season? Cast your vote below!
Barcelona paid fees totalling £200million to sign Suarez in the summer of 2014 and Coutinho in January 2018, but their ongoing financial crisis means they will struggle to stump up a huge sum for Salah.
It appears they are relying on his contract situation at Liverpool becoming untenable, as the Reds may look to sell him next summer rather than lose him for free in 2023 if talks prove unsuccessful.
Salah started for Egypt in their World Cup qualifier against Angola on Friday, assisting both of his side's goals in a 2-2 draw.