Transfer fees have gone mad. We know this because it’s what football pundits have been telling us every summer for the past ten or twenty years.
But this season it’s starting to feel worryingly prescient.
Southampton’s Virgil van Dijk at one point looked likely to move to Liverpool for a club-record fee, probably in the £50 million range. Meanwhile Chelsea look set to buy a big money defender of their own in Alex Sandro for upwards of £60 million – a fee usually reserved for 40-goal-a-season strikers or game-changing number 10s.
Last summer, the record transfer fee was broken again when Manchester United paid £89 million (most of it to Mino Raiola) to bring Paul Pogba back to Old Trafford. Many thought it was less a reflection of the player’s on-field worth than it was his marketing value, alongside the club’s wish to make a “splash” in the football world after its relevance – in the drab post-Fergie years – looked to be under threat.
If vanity buys are back in vogue, it probably won’t be long before we see Pogba’s record fall by the wayside – and here are 10 deals that could steal a march.