And so it begins.
The media's determination to try and sell our best players has already been touched upon on this site and there appears no let up this transfer window.
Just six months into his first season as a regular senior pro Ross Barkley is being pushed towards the Toffees exit door by journalists.
He points to a recent meeting between Chelsea chairman Bruce Buck and his Everton counterpart Bill Kenwright as evidence of a potential deal.
He believes Everton will struggle to resist a bid even if Barkley, as expected, signs a new long-term contract in the coming weeks.
What the highly speculative, quoteless, article fails to acknowledge though is the repeated statements of manager Roberto Martinez, who insists the club are no longer under any financial pressure to sell.
Therefore any decision over Barkley's future would be taken on a footballing level, and it simply makes no sense to sell him so early in his promising career.
Barkley is also unlikely to push for a move (for now at least) given Everton are his hometown club and he remains grateful for their support in his development, particularly when recovering from a broken leg four years ago.
He is also grateful to his manager for having the faith to pitch him straight into the team this season, helping him flourish and put him seemingly on course for a World Cup spot.
But why let the truth get in the way of a good story eh?
Lets just say for a minute that the story is true and Chelsea are ready to bid for Barkley then it is vital Everton resist. If the club is to progress under Martinez they need to break this cycle of continually selling their best players.
Especially to a club like Chelsea, who strut around with Roman's petroldollars in their back pocket arrogantly seeking to pick off the league's brightest stars - I dearly hope Southampton can prove equally tough in their stance over another Blues target, Luke Shaw.
There's no denying that Barkley is destined for the top of the game, the only question is whether he can carry Everton up along with him. Therefore even a hefty bid from Chelsea should be resisted until we find out the answer to that question.
If, in a few years, Barkley is the superstar we all think he can be but Everton are lagging behind his ambitions, then we may be forced to consider a stratospheric offer.
But for now the club should fight tooth and nail to resist the approaches of Roman's roubles, even if that spells bad news for the media.