AMONG the many Premier League previews written in the past few days, one perhaps summed up the financial challenge facing Burnley more than most.
“Even team spirit can only take you so far,” it said about the Clarets. “The manager said Burnley can’t afford to sign Troy Deeney at £8m, so that indicates they are up against it.”
This is how things are in the top flight now. You’re not spending £8m on one player? How can you possibly hope to compete?
It is not so long since £8m was a lot of money for even the top clubs, but Chelsea’s arrival at Turf Moor on Monday is the perfect illustration of how times have changed.
The Blues have spent £78m this summer alone in an attempt to transform themselves from last season’s third-placed club to champions once more.
In have come Cesc Fabregas from Barcelona, Diego Costa and Filipe Luis from Atletico Madrid.
Didier Drogba, once a £24m recruit from Marseille, this time returns for a second spell on a free transfer.
Even allowing for the fact that £50m Fernando Torres may now find himself as third choice striker, Chelsea’s starting line-up on Monday may still add up to a staggering £200m.
None of that was spent on skipper John Terry, while Thibaut Courtois is now looking a bargain at £8m – the figure Chelsea paid Genk for his services three years ago.
But Eden Hazard cost £35m to recruit, Oscar £25m and Andre Schurrle £18m.
Holding midfielder Nemanja Matic was allowed to leave Stamford Bridge for Benfica in 2011 as part of the deal to bring David Luiz to Chelsea, before Mourinho paid £22m to bring him back in January.
Others in contention to play include Willian (£32m), Ramires (£18m), Mohamed Salah (£13m), Victor Moses (£9m), Marco van Ginkel (£8m), Petr Cech (£7m), Cesar Azpilicueta (£7m) and John Obi Mikel (£4m).
In contrast Burnley, described by some even within Turf Moor itself as the smallest club ever to play in the Premier League, spent only around £5m to bring together the side that is likely to start on Monday.
To spend £8m on one player would more than double that tally.
Lukas Jutkiewicz is the most expensive, a £1.5m recruit from Middlesbrough since promotion.
Jason Shackell cost £1.1m from Derby two years ago, while Danny Ings was bought for £1m from Bournemouth at the age of 19.
Of the rest, the likes of Tom Heaton, Scott Arfield, David Jones and Matt Taylor were free transfers.
Michael Duff cost just £30,000 when Burnley brought him in from Cheltenham Town in 2004.
It would require 1,067 Duffs to reach the fee spent on Costa, the man he could be marking.
This is the gulf Burnley must bridge against Chelsea, but football is not merely a battle of the chequebooks. The Clarets will hope to show that in emphatic fashion on Monday.