The January transfer period has a lot in common with last-minute shopping on Christmas Eve. Watch as panic buying ensues, spending goes through the roof and a faint whiff of desperation lingers in the air.
The last window only just closed, but in three months it will be open once more, as clubs look to strengthen key areas that have been weakened through injury, suspension or players not quite living up to their billing.
January is a good time to be a selling club. However, if you're buying, you know you will be dealing with vastly inflated transfer costs, astronomical wages and agents' fees.
Be it a fear of relegation or not achieving your season goals, many clubs all over Europe will bend over backwards to ship in recruits in the New Year, whereas those with the greatest financial clout can simply stockpile players for a rainy day or try and keep them out of their rivals' hands.
Fernando Torres and Andy Carroll's 2011 moves for £50 million and £35 million, respectively, are good examples of price-tags gone mad. More recently, Queens Park Rangers' 2012 acquisition of Christopher Samba for £12 million and pay of a reported £100,000 a week shows how exaggerated January fees can be.
Presented in no particular order, over the following slides we look at 10 players who could be paid way over the odds in 12 weeks' time.
Perhaps they didn't get a move over the summer, or maybe they've enjoyed a stellar start to the season, attracting the attention of Europe's top sides.
Whatever the reason, if they move in January, expect enormous amounts of money to pave the way.
Manchester United came close to signing Ander Herrera on transfer deadline day, until the move failed amid reports of imposters travelling to Spain to conduct negotiations with Athletic Bilbao, as seen on ESPN.co.uk.
It was later alleged that the deal for the midfielder did not come off because United's representatives pulled out due to the complexities of Spanish buy-out clauses, seen here in a report from the Guardian's Sid Lowe.
However, Old Trafford insiders also claimed that the move fell through as the club were not prepared to meet the €35 million valuation of the 24-year-old, as told by Lowe.
Over the last few days, it has been made known that Old Trafford boss David Moyes will have £50 million to spend in the coming transfer window, per Miguel Delaney in the Mirror. The club are not known for spending over the winter months, but after a mixed start to the season and a botched summer transfer period, United will probably try to flex some financial muscle in January.
James Dickenson of the Express claims that Herrera is still a target for United. Perhaps the Red Devils will wish they had paid €35 million for him over the summer, as that price could rise in January.
On paper, it looks like the Spaniard has been a roaring success with the Blues, where he has won the Champions League, FA Cup and Europa League. However, in reality, the much maligned striker has failed to live up to the expectations that surrounded his arrival at Stamford Bridge.
The striker has been linked with a move back to Liverpool in Metro and over the summer he was also rumoured to be on his way to Napoli to link up with former boss Rafa Benitez, as seen in the Express.
Torres transfer stories have gone quiet of late following Romelu Lukaku's surprise loan move to Everton. But, as he looks to secure consistent playing time heading into the 2014 World Cup, Torres could be looking for a move this winter.
At 29, it could be his last chance to earn a big payday, and Chelsea will be out to cash in on him if they can.
The 24-year-old has been at Paris Saint-Germain since 2011, when the French side shelled out £36 million to secure his services from Palermo.
Pastore has played 97 games in that time and has scored 25 goals and 20 assists. However, this season he has been substituted off in all but two games and has been left on the bench for three Ligue 1 outings.
As Dickenson suggests, Liverpool want to bring the attacking midfielder to England, with Chelsea and Arsenal also rumoured to be interested.
When PSG signed Pastore, he was the most expensive player in Ligue 1 history. If they let him go, they will be certain to look for an enormous fee for the Argentine international.
The striker scored just five top flight goals for Spurs last season, and it's unlikely that he will get much of a look-in at White Hart Lane this term, considering the summer arrival of both Roberto Soldado and Erik Lamela.
Adebayor recently returned to training after three months of compassionate leave following a death in his family.
And already, stories are circulating that Andre Villas-Boas may have to play him in order to drive up the price for a sale in January, as seen in Darren Lewis' article in the Mirror.
At 29, the Togolese forward will not have many more big moves left in his career and, on a reported wage of £170,000 per week, he's going to be an expensive player to sign if he engineers a switch in January.
It would not come as much of a shock if Juan Mata decided enough was enough and looked for a move away from Chelsea this winter.
The club's Player of the Year for two seasons running has had a largely peripheral role to play at Stamford Bridge so far this term, with Oscar as Jose Mourinho's preferred No. 10.
An exit would be difficult for Blues fans to stomach, as Mata has been an outstanding player for the club since his arrival in 2011.
But you couldn't blame the 25-year-old for looking elsewhere to find a guaranteed starting berth.
Chelsea could command a fee upwards of £30 million for the midfielder and, as reported in the Daily Mail by John Edwards, he could have his pick of many clubs including Valencia, Manchester United, Arsenal, Tottenham and Real Madrid.
Perhaps Mata will stay and fight for his place at Chelsea. If he goes, the Blues will be certain to hike up their asking price as much as they can.
FC Porto's Eliaquim Mangala could walk into most sides in Europe.
Barcelona, Manchester United, Arsenal, Liverpool, Napoli, Manchester City—all clubs that could do with a world-class central defender.
Porto signed Mangala in 2011, for a fee of £5.7 million. His buy-out clause these days is set at £37.8 million, as reported by the Guardian's Daniel Taylor.
Apparently, Manchester United want to sign the Frenchman to replace Rio Ferdinand, with Man City and Chelsea are also interested.
According to Taylor, the 22-year-old may soon be represented by Jorge Mendes—agent to Cristiano Ronaldo, Radamel Falcao and Jose Mourinho, among others. If Mendes is involved, expect Europe's top clubs to battle it out for his signature.
In Jones' report, Barca club president Sandro Rosell was quoted as saying:
Barcelona should not pay more than what the coach thinks is the right price for the salary. We did not recruit David Luiz because of a technical decision. But we will see what happens in January.
Luiz, who admitted turning down a move during the summer—as seen in the Mirror—may reconsider his options after playing in just two of Chelsea's six Premier League games this season.
If Barcelona try to get their man again, they're sure to offer Luiz a healthy amount of lucre to leave Stamford Bridge.
As the Mirror claims, the defender wants more money and is hoping to "join the club's top pay league after the record signing of Gareth Bale."
An integral part of the Madrid back line, Manuel Pellegrini's side would have to pay way over the odds to prise him away from the Bernabeu.
Schalke know that they have a prize asset in Julian Draxler. Still only 20 years old, Europe's top clubs seem to have been tracking him for years.
According to Ben Jefferson in the Express, Arsenal are planning a "double swoop" to bring Draxler and Marco Reus to the Emirates Stadium.
Jefferson also reports that Juventus would be willing to match Schalke's £34 million valuation for the young winger.
Draxler signed a new contract with the Bundesliga club this year and, with a World Cup on the horizon, he may not want to move to a new team.
However, if Arsenal come in with a big bid, the German side may not be able to refuse their advances.
However, as James Dickenson reports here, Arsenal are still monitoring the Uruguayan's situation and may make a renewed offer for him in January.
The Gunners tried to sign the striker over the summer, but had their £40,000,001 bid rebuffed by Liverpool, as seen on the BBC Sport website.
After signing Mesut Ozil on transfer deadline day, Arsenal look like genuine title contenders. Their one main weakness, however, is strength in depth.
They need a new striker to provide competition for Olivier Giroud and, as Luis Suarez is not cup tied for the Champions League, he is a very attractive target for the London club.
Real Madrid are also rumoured to be interested in the 26-year-old, as reported by Spanish newspaper Punto Pelota (via the Liverpool Echo), who describe Suarez as "desperate to move to the Bernabeu."
Despite the controversy that surrounds Suarez, there are a number of clubs that would be willing to throw astronomical amounts of money at him this January.