How much higher can prices for top players continue to go?

The fact that Manchester United are even thinking about it says it all. Getting Ronaldo for  £175 million? Paying him wages of £400,000 a week?

Only three times in the past five summers have English clubs paid more than £50m for a player.

This summer could see the entire top five go over that ­figure, with Ronaldo, Romelu Lukaku, Alexandre Lacazette, Virgil van Dijk and Kylian Mbappe all highly sought after.

Cristiano Ronaldo

At least during his time in Spain, Ronaldo has his three Champions Leagues, three ­Ballon d’Ors, two La Liga titles and the European ­Championship that he inspired Portugal to last season in his ­favour.

He may turn 33 next February, but he still netted 42 times for Real last season. He may be worth it.

Romelu Lukaku

Chelsea’s chief negotiator, Marina Granovskaia, simply does not want to go anywhere near the £100 million that Everton are demanding for Lukaku.

He may have scored 26, 25 and 20 goals over the past three seasons, but at the age of just 24, he also has a number of good years ahead of him. But Chelsea remain locked in talks with the Toffees, anxious not to be milked just ­because they have the cash.

Jordan Pickford and Ederson

City have already splashed out £35 million to make Benfica star Ederson the most expensive keeper of all time. Remember, has never played for the Brazil senior team and has it all to prove in English football.

23-year-old Jordan Pickford, who made his first-team debut with Sunderland in January 2016 has moved to Everton for £30 million.

His supporters insist he is as good with his feet as he is in command of his goal.

His critics are incredulous that he has become the world’s third most expensive keeper on the strength of just one full season in the Premier League.

But if Pickford is worth £30 million, then what would that make David De Gea, the Manchester United No.1 in whom Real Madrid remain interested?

Tottenham have also upped the price yet further in anticipation of City’s opening gambit for Kyle Walker.

Spurs will now not do business for less than £50m.

And why not, with Southampton demanding around £60-70m for central defender Van Dijk?

Bear in mind that City paid a fee just shy of £50m to land Everton’s John Stones last summer, and he ended the season unable to get into Pep Guardiola’s team.

Nicolas Otamendi and Eliaquim Mangala, both bought by City for in excess of £30 million, have also flopped.

This is becoming such a silly season that even ­Huddersfield have agreed a £10 million fee with City for Aaron Mooy...yes, who?

When did you think you would ever hear Huddersfield, transfer and £10 million in the same sentence?

 

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