In recent years, the prices that football clubs have had to pay in transfer and agent fees to buy the best players has continued to sky-rocket.
And, although the 198 million that Paris Saint-Germain paid Barcelona for Neymar in 2017 remains the record, there have been ten other players who have been sold for 80 million or more.
However, all that may be about to change because of the global Covd-19 pandemic, which is having devastating economic as well as health consequences across the world. Football has been suspended in virtually every league for weeks now, and, with no signs of when it will resume, the costs are beginning to mount up at cost level. There is no income coming in from broadcasters, sponsors or ticket sales, whilst in most cases, salaries are still being paid not just to players and coaching staff but to the hundreds of people behind the scene that they employ whilst day to day running costs are still being incurred.
Those clubs at the elite level may be able to ride out the storm if the shutdown continues, but it could put those further down the football pyramid over the edge financially. A sustained period of no income could spell the death knell for many sides used to living hand to mouth.
At the same time, football does not exist in a bubble. Millions of people around the globe will see their livelihoods affected by the shutdowns, with whole industries like hospitality, tourism, transportation and many others grievously affected for years to come. People will lose their jobs, and although economies will recover, this could take years.
It is likely that the amount of disposable income people have to spend post the crisis will be significantly less, so ticket prices will need to come down, and broadcasters will probably have to lower their pay-per-view subscriptions.
This means that when football does come back, the amount of money that clubs have to spend will be significantly reduced. As a result, they will just not be able to afford to pay astronomical transfer fees any more. And players will find that, when it comes to negotiating new contracts, that the wages on offer will be substantially lower than they were used to getting before.
In the brave new world after the virus, football cannot expect things simply to go back to the way that they were before.