The Sun report Manchester City to be ‘on the verge’ of a £53m deal to bring Everton centre-half John Stones to the Etihad.
If the switch is concluded, it will take the Citizens’ spending on centre-halves to around £125m across the last three seasons.
That’s hefty expenditure in anybody’s book, especially when it comes to buying defenders and history suggests it’s both financially reckless and unnecessary.
Sure, great stoppers have been signed for big bucks down the years – Sergio Ramos, Rio Ferdinand and Lilian Thuram are memorable examples of those to have justified their sizeable fees.
However, Champions-League-winning giants Manchester United, Liverpool and Barcelona have all proven it’s equally possible to source top class centre-backs for a relative pittance.
United may have paid through the nose for Ferdinand, but they paired him with Nemanja Vidic (above), a £7m signing just one season after he’d left his native Serbia for Spartak Moscow.
Together the pair won five Premier League titles and the 2008 Champions League, with the cheaper buy a more than equal partner in the team.
Yet even the bargain price for which United procured Vidic looks steep next to the £2.6m Liverpool paid Eredivisie outfit Willem II for Sami Hyypia (below).
He helped steer the Anfield club to no fewer than ten trophies, including two FA Cups, a UEFA Cup and a Champions League
The Finn won many six of those medals alongside a partner who had cost the club just a million more, former Blackburn Rover Stephane Henchoz.
Even Barcelona are capable of signing up world class centre-halves for next to nothing, paying just £5m to bring their former academy product Gerard Pique back to Camp Nou as a 21-year-old in 2008.
In doing so they illustrated that it is not even always necessary to scout relative footballing backwaters, or muscle in on financially weaker league-mates to acquire top-drawer defensive talent on a budget.