Most transfer windows don’t open until July 1 but some of Europe’s heavyweights are already preparing to empty their wallets.
Bloated by exponential TV rights deals, there is every chance that world-record fees in every position could be broken over the summer.
We take a look at who currently holds the record for goalkeeper, defender, midfielder and striker and the players who could be set to break it in the ensuing months.
EDERSON – £35 million
TRANSFER – Benfica to Manchester City
Gigi Buffon’s mark has already been surpassed this summer as Manchester City completed a record-breaking deal for the Benfica stopper this week.
Pep Guardiola made his signature a No1 priority and the Brazilian has put pen to paper on a five-year deal, meaning Claudio Bravo faces an uncertain future at the Etihad Stadium.
The 23-year-old earned a reputation as a sweeper keeper and his ability on the ball is one of the key reasons Guardiola was prepared to make him the most expensive goalkeeper of all time.
POTENTIAL RECORD BREAKERS
DAVID DE GEA – £66 million
INTERESTED CLUBS – Real Madrid
The Spain international is perennially linked with a switch to Real Madrid and the pendulum has swung in both directions this summer with the Bernabeu outfit apparently cooling their initial interest.
Jose Mourinho, however, is reportedly willing to sell the 26-year-old, and was even keen to see Alvaro Morata included as part of the deal.
But with Morata now potentially a separate investment, any deal for De Gea would be straight cash and the projected fee will be just shy of double Ederson’s new record.
GIANLUIGI DONNARUMMA – £35 million
INTERESTED CLUBS – Manchester City, Manchester United, Chelsea and Real Madrid
Depending on which source you choose to believe, the 18-year-old AC Milan keeper will fetch anything from £20 million to £130 million.
The Italian is Milan’s undisputed No1 and has thrived ever since making his first-team debut at just 16.
With just a year left on his current deal Donnarumma’s agent Mino Raiola is licking his lips at a potential move and Real Madrid have emerged as the latest interested party having apparently pulled away from De Gea.
JAN OBLAK – £85 million
INTERESTED CLUBS – Manchester United, Chelsea and Real Madrid
The transfer carousel could see the Atletico Madrid No1 move to Old Trafford with United chiefs concerned De Gea will try to force through a move to Real Madrid.
The 24-year-old won La Liga’s best goalkeeper award for the second straight season and is viewed as a world-class replacement should De Gea leave.
He comes with a hefty price tag, though, with his release clause a whopping £85 million.
JOHN STONES – £47.5 million
TRANSFER – Everton to Manchester City
Manchester City’s fee paid to Everton hasn’t quite looked like money well spent following a rocky first season at the Etihad Stadium.
But at just 23, the England international possesses plenty of promise and remains one of the finest ball-playing centre-halves around.
A free run of injuries for Vincent Kompany next season could provide the stable partnership he needs to develop further.
POTENTIAL RECORD BREAKERS
VIRGIL VAN DIJK – £70 million
INTERESTED CLUBS – Liverpool, Manchester City, Chelsea
Liverpool have made an absolute shambles of their pursuit of the Dutchman but there are rumblings that despite apologising to Southampton and withdrawing their interest, they could still sign the defender should he force through the move himself.
Manchester City retracted their interest in the Saints centre-back after he signalled his desire to move to Anfield with Chelsea now appearing the lone candidates to sign him.
Southampton have been emboldened by Liverpool’s abandonment and are no under obligation to sell the 25-year-old given he has five years left to run on his current deal.
VICTOR LINDELOF – £50million
INTERESTED CLUBS – Manchester United
Manchester United are prime suspects in this one with Jose Mourinho hoping to add more depth to his defence over the summer.
The Benfica centre-half has three years left on his current deal but his relative inexperience at the top level means there is an element of risk in his acquisition.
The Portuguese giants are looking for a fee which exceeds the club record £35 million Zenit Saint Petersburg paid for Axel Witsel with figures north of £45 million touted.
HECTOR BELLERIN – £50 million
INTERESTED CLUBS – Barcelona and Manchester City
The former Barcelona youth product is said to be a top target of new Nou Camp boss Ernesto Valverde while City have also reportedly shown an interest in the Arsenal full-back.
His form mirrored Arsenal’s season as he fluctuated for much of the campaign before finishing strong in Arsene Wenger’s redesigned 3-4-3 system.
That’s not stopped reports of a move back to Barcelona and the 22-year-old is said to be worth £50 million.
PAUL POGBA – £89 million
TRANSFER – Juventus to Manchester United
No one will be more delighted than Paul Pogba if the highest ever fee paid for a player is broken this summer.
The £89 million price tag weighed heavy on his shoulders and it also skewed the perception of his performances in a United shirt last term.
The Frenchman was one of Jose Mourinho’s standout stars but didn’t get the appreciation he deserved because of the pressure in being the world’s most expensive player.
POTENTIAL RECORD BREAKERS
GARETH BALE – £100 million
INTERESTED PARTIES – Manchester United
Real Madrid rarely go two summers without a signing a ‘Galactico’ and the hope is that they can sign one of three targets from Kylian Mbappe, Eden Hazard and David De Gea.
Of course, any one of those signings will require significant investment and to fund any potential deal, Real are apparently willing to negotiate over Gareth Bale.
United have long been linked with the Welshman and it’s understood Old Trafford is one of the few places he would leave Madrid for but while deal is conceivable for boths sides, Real would still be looking to recoup the £86 million they paid to Tottenham in 2013 and more.
EDEN HAZARD – £100 million
INTERESTED PARTIES – Real Madrid
As was pointed out before, the La Liga and Champions League champions are eager to splash the cash this summer and Hazard is chief among the candidates to break the world-record transfer fee.
Reports suggest he will need to force Chelsea’s hand as the Belgium is contracted with the Premier League champions until 2020 and should that come to fruition Madrid would be willing to fork out £100 million for his services.
Hazard enjoyed a reinvigorating campaign under Antonio Conte to realign himself alongside the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi as one of the world’s premier talents.
DELE ALLI – £100 million
INTERESTED PARTIES – Manchester United, Manchester City and Real Madrid
The Tottenham midfielder has drawn admiring glances from abroad with you guessed it, Real registered with an interest.
The two clubs have previous when it comes to transfer dealings as Spurs have sold both Luka Modric (£30 million) and Bale (£86 million) to Los Blancos.
It’s unlikely Alli will leave this summer as he is a key cog in Spurs’ midfield having scored 18 goals and registered 7 assists but at 21 with room to grow it won’t be too long before the rumours of big money move gather legitimate momentum.
GONZALO HIGUAIN – £75 million
TRANSFER – Napoli to Juventus
Big stage flops have marred an outstanding goal return from the Argentine and the Champions League final is justification of that.
He scored 32 times in 55 games during his first season at Juve following the money-spinning move from Napoli but ultimately the Serie A champions shelled out the astronomical fee in the hope he would bring Champions League glory.
In the 4-1 defeat to Real Madrid in Cardiff he was completely anonymous.
POTENTIAL RECORD BREAKERS
ROMELU LUKAKU – £100 million
INTERESTED CLUBS – Manchester United and Chelsea
He will apparently snub United’s interest in him to rejoin Chelsea with Lukaku seemingly destined to leave Everton in the transfer window.
Big strong, quick and a guaranteed Premier League goalscorer, the Belgian may not be the most glamorous signing but he will provide the ideal replacement if Diego Costa is on the way out of Stamford Bridge.
The 24-year-old’s deal runs out in 2018 so the Toffees have a modicum of bargaining power and they are willing to fulfill his contract, leading them to attach a whopping £100 million price tag to his name.
ANDREA BELOTTI – £84 MILLION
INTERESTED CLUBS – Manchester United, Arsenal and AC Milan
From Serie B in 2013/14 to potential record breaker, the Torino striker has made a massive impact this season and in December he signed a new deal which saw the Italian club insert an £84 million release clause.
He is one of five players heading up Jose Mourinho’s Old Trafford wishlist with his bruising physicality and goalscoring record catching the eye.
Milan are well in the fight to sign him with Arsenal previously linked as well.
KYLIAN MBAPPE – £120 million
INTERESTED CLUBS – Arsenal, Manchester City, Manchester United, Liverpool, Chelsea and Real Madrid
Saving the biggest for last, the Monaco teenager has been linked with just about every major European club after a quite remarkable season.
Two unnamed clubs have already had bids in excess of £85 million rejected by the Ligue 1 side with Madrid and City the two thought to be leading the chase.
The 18-year-old’s current deal runs out in 2019 although Monaco are hopeful he will agree new contact with a pay increase.