#EPL Preview: 5 big money signings
The Premier League's two Manchester clubs have spent big ahead of the start of the new season.
CAPE TOWN - The Premier League is just days upon us but the transfer window still has a few weeks left until it is shut and we can get on with focusing on the football.
The influx of cash from recent television deals the league has signed is no more than evident than in the world record fee Manchester United paid for their very own academy product Paul Pogba - a feat usually reserved for Real Madrid.
Clubs are now flush with cash, even the likes of Crystal Palace and Everton are willing to splash £30 million on a single player. A few years ago this was a more than acceptable budget for most clubs.
While the mind boggling numbers that are prevalent in the game will continue to rise, the consolation for fans around the world is that your beloved club is now able to afford players that were perhaps out of reach a few years back.
Premier League clubs have spent an average of £10.3 million per transfer in this current window, a new record for England's top flight.
That is a significant increase on the £6.4 million spent on average last season. If you look back a decade ago the average is a lowly £4.1 million.
Below is a list of the five biggest transfers so far. Honourable mentions must go to Sadio Mane and N'Golo Kante who both made moves in excess of £30 million.
PAUL POGBA (JUVENTUS - MANCHESTER UNITED £89.3M)
Manchester United will hope the world record acquisition of the lanky Frenchman will be a defining moment in their bid to regain the glory years.
Pogba left United acrimoniously in 2012 for a meagre £850,000 to Juventus. His four years in Turin where he played alongside Andrea Pirlo, Arturo Vidal and Claudio Marchisio assisted his development into football's hottest commodity.
He returns to his former home as the most expensive player in the world, and with that hefty price tag comes the unavoidable pressure to perform. Jose Mourinho might just be the right man to aide Pogba in his continued upward trajectory. Since Sir Alex Ferguson left three seasons ago, United have been knocked down a peg, with the club losing some of its famous lustre and bravado but Pogba's return is a reminder that they're still one of the world's biggest club and a clear statement of intent.
It will be interesting to see where Mourinho deploys the 23-year-old. At the Euro 2016 he played in a withdrawn role for France and his offensive influence was throttled in that system.
Mourinho has signalled in preseason he will employ a 4-2-3-1 system but Pogba thrived in a system at Juventus where two other central midfielder shared the defensive load and allowed the charismatic midfielder to express himself.
JOHN STONES (EVERTON - MANCHESTER CITY £47.5M)
Stones' talent is unquestionable. Last season Jose Mourinho was on a quest to sign the Everton defender for Chelsea with Stones himself even handing in a transfer request in an attempt to push the move through but it did not materialise.
Instead, last season was a turbulent one for the 22-year-old, punctuated by flashes showcasing his elegance on the ball, whilst also littered with blunders that frustrated the Goodison faithful and led to goals.
That was no deterrent for new Man City boss Pep Guardiola who splurged on the defender, making him the most expensive defender in the league. It might be a masterstroke by 'Pep', as Stones is a player suited to his style of play. In Guardiola's system, central defenders being able to distribute the ball comfortably is a non-negotiable and Stones has that ability.
The former Barcelona manager is a manager who forms close emotional bonds with players, and in Stones case, affirmation from a legendary manager might be what is needed.
Stones comes to City with the central defence providing more questions than answers. Although City paid a premium for both Nicolas Otamendi and Eliaquim Mangala, they have not yet verified their transfer fee satisfactorily with the latter also seeming to be on his way out.
The biggest defensive question mark, though, surrounds club captain Vincent Kompany's ongoing fitness issues. The situation means that Stones will parachute straight into the starting line-up and will need to hit the ground running as the league is as competitive as it has ever been.
GRANIT XHAKA (BORRUSIA MONCHENGLADBACH - ARSENAL £30M)
The Swiss midfielder has long been one of the brightest talents in European football alongside his countrymen Xherdan Shaqiri and becomes the Gunners' third most expensive singing. Xhaka has grown in stature as a midfielder and leader at Borussia Monchengladbach while Shaqiri has not made the grade at some of Europe's top clubs (Bayern Munich and Inter Milan).
The technically gifted left-footer has an eye for a pass and is tenacious in the heart of the midfield. He is not the most prolific goal scorer and has some disciplinary issues but he will certainly add value to the fluid style Arsene Winger likes to pay and should walk into the first team. Hence Wenger forking out an apparent £30 million for him.
LEROY SANE (SCHALKE - MANCHESTER CITY £37M)
The German wonder-kid had no shortage of potential destinations before joining Man City with some of Europe's premier clubs interested in the skilful 20-year-old who represented his nation at the Euros earlier this year. While Pep Guardiola was still in charge of Bayern Munich, he was openly an admirer of Sane and there is little surprise City splashed so much cash on the attacking midfielder.
The Citizens already have proven quality in the attacking midfield area with the likes of David Silva and Kevin De Bruyne to choose from, therefore it seems Sane will likely wrestle with the enigmatic duo of Raheen Sterling and Jesus Navas for a spot in the team.
Sane is mazy dribbler with many pundits praising his composure. Add to this his positional versatility, these ingredients make him a player suited to play in Guardiola's sometimes fluid system.
MICHY BATSHUAYI (MARSEILLE - CHELSEA £33M)
The dynamic 22-year-old forward is an exciting prospect, he is one of a number of mouth-watering talents emerging from the recent Belgian assembly line. Bathsuayi chose Chelsea over London rivals Tottenham and it could prove to be a great piece of business for new manager Antonio Conte who clearly wanted to expand his striking resources as Diego Costa suffered a number of injuries last season.
Bayshuayi has a proven track record of goals in France's Ligue 1, scoring a cool 17 goals last season. The forward is very adaptable as he possesses pace, power and technical ability which will allow him to cover a number of attacking positions.
The one worrying aspect of the transfer is Batshuayi's reputation as a 'bad boy' in France and his native Belgium where he was once kicked out of the Anderlecht academy. One however feels confident that the animated character of Antonio Conte will be able to bring out the best in the colourful Belgian.