The last couple of January transfer windows have been relatively staid affairs by Premier League standards.
Italian striker Manolo Gabbiadini ended up as the most expensive UK import nine months ago, with his £14m move from Napoli to Southampton closely followed by Helder Costa’s loan from Benfica to Championship Wolves being made permanent for £13m.
Manchester United flop Morgan Schneiderlin commanded the highest fee between British clubs with a £20m switch to Everton, almost £2m more than the previous January’s biggest Premier League purchase – Gianelli Imbula to Stoke from Porto.
Such modest business was a far cry from prior winter windows, the high (or low, depending on how you look at it) watermark coming in 2011, largely through Liverpool.
The Reds sold Fernando Torres to Chelsea for £50m, still a winter window record between Premier League clubs, and blew it all plus around £7.5m extra on Andy Carroll and Luis Suarez, to wildly varying degrees of success.
It seems most top-flight money men gave heed to managerial sage Sir Alex Ferguson’s insistence a couple of years later that the January transfer market has “never been the best and that has proved itself”.
However, after EPL clubs combined to spend a whopping £1.4bn over the summer – up 23 per cent year on year – ‘Fergie’s Law’ may not hold as much weight as it used to.
Add in the mix the number of high-value players available for free next summer and a post-Xmas spree seems certain.
Everton’s Ross Barkley looks locked in for a £20m-plus move to either Tottenham or Chelsea at the start of next year, while across Stanley Park Liverpool’s Emre Can continues to be linked with Juventus.
Manchester United’s Luke Shaw could be on his way, with plenty of clubs interested in the struggling 22-year-old, and Spanish pair Ander Herrera and Juan Mata are yet to commit their futures to Old Trafford.
United are also rumoured to be plotting a January swoop for Schalke midfielder Leon Goretzka, whose Die Konigsblauen deal runs dry at the end of the season.
Those potential moves could all serve as appetisers, with Arsenal departures set to provide the main course.
Conventional wisdom used to state that a player’s worth is largely based on the length of his contract – the longer, the more valuable.
Liverpool signing Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain for £35m appears to have blown that theory out of the water, considering the largely-unproductive England international had just a year left to serve at the Emirates.
Mesut Ozil and Alexis Sanchez will also be available for nothing next summer, and Arsenal appear ready to admit defeat in their attempts to keep the 28-year-old pair.
Ozil is attracting interest from Inter, as the North Londoners reportedly try to tease out a bid for the German number 10.
Their rumoured plans for Sanchez sound even more audacious, with long-term target Julian Draxler wanted in a swap deal involving big-spending Paris Saint-Germain.
Neither mooted move seems likely to break Torres’ record, but this could still be a rare January window to remember.