Are the big transfer targets value for money?
Manchester United's capture of Memphis Depay last week fired the starting gun on the biggest transfer summer in Premier League history - yet history serves as a warning that mega-money signings are no guarantee to glory.
You only need to look back to last summer’s big-money movers to appreciate that a huge price tag ensured little more than a handsome signing on fee and a vast weekly wage packet.
David Luiz (Paris Saint-Germain for £40m), Eliaquim Mangala (Manchester City for £32m) and Angel di Maria (Manchester United for £59.7m) are some of the mega-money signings who have failed to live up to their inflated price tags this season, but those deals will not deter the biggest spendings in European football splashing the cash once again this summer.
Here is our guide to the big players being tipped for a move this summer - as well as our verdict on whether they are worthy of vast transfer values.
Current club: Real Madrid
Despite his crucial goals in last season’s Copa del Rey and Champions League finals, it seems as if Bale has never been fully accepted by the Real Madrid faithful and now their desire to see the player who cost £86m to sign from Tottenham is being edged towards the exit door.
If Manchester United or any of their domestic rivals are successful in their drive to get this Welshman back in the Premier League, they will be buying into a 25-year-old talent who has proved he can produce the good when it matters most in the biggest of games, but has he been scarred by a torrid season of abuse at Real Madrid?
OUR VERDICT: A fit and firing Bale has proved that he can light up the Premier League and if Angel di Maria leaves Manchester United this summer, Bale would be a sensational replacement.
Current club: Juventus
Alex Ferguson allowed French midfielder Pogba to leave Manchester United on a free transfer in the summer of 2012 and he has since emerged as a star of the world game after taking centre stage at Juventus.
With his price tag escalating to unfathomable levels, Paris Saint-Germain and Manchester City are among the clubs eyeing up his talents, with Chelsea also believed to be in the mix. At the age of 22, is this kid really worth the hype around him? Many suggest he is, but he is still some way short of being the finish product.
OUR VERDICT: There has to be a risk value if Juve are successful in getting the find of sums they are suggesting he is worth. Pogba is a fine player, but he is not a proven world-beater yet.
Current club: Borussia Dortmund
German World Cup winning defender Hummels has been linked with a move to Manchester United for more than a year and it seems as if the transfer is likely to take place this summer, with Louis van Gaal keen to seal a deal for this 26-year-old.
However, Van Gaal’s eagerness to sign Hummels may not be as a result of his performances this season, when he has looked one-paced and accident prone in a leaking Borussia Dortmund defence. He may need to rebuild his confidence if he makes the move to Old Trafford and Van Gaal will believe he has the man management skills to do just that.
OUR VERDICT: He may be better than what United have in their defensive line, but his reputation and price tag may be loftier than his talents.
Current club: Liverpool
Sterling’s refusal to sign a new contract at Liverpool does not necessarily mean he will look to leave the club this summer, with Anfield officials adamant that he will not be allowed to leave with his current deal set to run until 2017.
That has not stopped the inevitable rumours linking him with a move to Chelsea and Manchester City, with his advisers clearly letting their client know the kind of wages he could earn away from Anfield. At the tender age of 20, Sterling may be wise to stay at a club where his talents are appreciated, but money appears to be driving this story.
OUR VERDICT: Liverpool appear to have made it clear that they will not consider a transfer for Sterling this summer and unless he kicks up an ugly fuss in a bid to get away, this transfer story may rumble on into next season.
Current club: Southampton
Luke Shaw became the must-have Southampton full-back for top Premier League clubs to sign last summer, with Manchester United successful in securing his signature in a £27m deal.
However, that has not proved to be a sound investment so far as Shaw has struggled at Old Trafford and you wonder whether the hype around Clyne is equally over-inflated. After all, his Saints team-mate Ryan Bertrand beat him to a place in the PFA’s Team of the Year.
OUR VERDICT: With a year left on his contract, Clyne looks set to leave Southampton this summer and Manchester United is his likely destination.
Current club: Atletico Madrid
This French forward has caught the eye with a glut of goals in his first season with Atletico Madrid and Chelsea are among the clubs now believed to be eying up his talents in what would be an expensive move this summer.
Bayern Munich have also been linked with a move for Griezmann, with his modest frame not holding him back in his eagerness to take his career to the next level. Some have suggested this 5’7” starlet may be a little frail for the demands of a physical Premier League, yet we may find out whether he is up to the challenge next season.
OUR VERDICT: Griezmann has proved his worth at Ateltico Madrid this season, but he still has five years left to run on his current contract. That means his huge price tag may make any potential move for a Premier League club a risky proposition.
Current club: Borussia Dortmund
Borussia Dortmund have had a long-standing policy of not allowing more than one of their best players to leave each summer, yet that policy seems to be changing after coach Jurgen Klopp confirmed he was on his way.
Midfielder Ilkay Gundogan has confirmed that he is on his way out this summer and German World Cup winning defender Mats Hummels looks set to follow him – with both possibly ending up at Manchester United – and yet the jewel in Dortmund’s crown could be the best signing of this summer. Can any club prize Marco Rues away from Dortmund this summer? If they do, it will cost them a fortune.
OUR VERDICT: This 25-year-old is a classy operator and if any Premier League club could get their hands on him this summer, they would sign a player who could be a game changer in next season’s title race. He would not come cheap, but he would be worth the investment.