Thirteen clubs broke their transfer records, over £1billion was invested in the search for the perfect formula and the sight of seven zeros on a price tag became the norm.
But at the end of a crazy summer of spending which of the Premier League’s superstars can claim to be worth the most?
Using cumulative transfer fees – the total amount paid for footballers over the course of their careers – Sportsmail found out.
For the purposes of the countdown, loan fees are discounted and only players registered with top-flight clubs for the remainder of the 2016-17 season were considered.
It’s a list which features the biggest teams in the land – Manchester United, Chelsea, Arsenal, Manchester City and… Crystal Palace.
Our top 10 have had a whopping £802.5million spent on them – roughly twice the GDP of Tonga – by clubs all over the world.
The chart includes two Spaniards, two Brazilians, a Swede, a Frenchman, two Belgians, a German and a Chilean, with three of the superstars having fetched in excess of £100m in cumulative fees.
From 10 to 1, here are the Premier League’s most expensive players…
10) Mesut Ozil (Arsenal) – £58.7million
Since arriving at the Emirates Stadium from Real Madrid in the summer of 2013 the German has blown hot and cold – infuriating and entertaining in equal measure.
Has the bug-eyed midfielder repaid the £42.5m shelled out for him by Arsene Wenger? The jury’s out.
9) Cesc Fabregas (Chelsea) – £60million
The Spaniard’s two £30m moves – from Arsenal to Barcelona and Barca to Chelsea – had the same effect on Gunners fans.
For all the money spent on him, however, Fabregas’ return of five major domestic trophies is a little surprising. Internationally – a double European champion and World Cup winner – his CV is unquestionably excellent.
8) Juan Mata – £60.6million
Mata has been a major presence in the Premier League since 2011, when he arrived at Stamford Bridge from Valencia for £23.5million.
His bags were packed for Manchester United three-and-a-half years later as Jose Mourinho decided the Spaniard wasn’t for him.
After United paid £37.1m for his services it’s perhaps unsurprising that Mourinho has taken a more friendly stance since taking control at Old Trafford.
7) Alexis Sanchez (Arsenal) – £62.5million
The Chilean has scored 43 times in 96 games since arriving in north London from Barcelona two years ago.
He previously cost the Catalans £30million from Udinese, but the Italian club had originally picked him up from Corbreloa in his native South America for just £2.5m in 2007. Give that scout a medal.
6) Christian Benteke (Crystal Palace) – £71.8million
Who’d have thought little old Palace would have a player on this list?
Benteke cost Aston Villa £7m to hire from Genk, scored a hatful of goals in the Midlands and secured a lucrative move to Liverpool.
The Belgian then failed to score a hatful of goals on Merseyside but still convinced Alan Pardew to find a spare £32m down the back of the Selhurst Park sofa this summer.
5) Willian (Chelsea) – £73million
Three big-money deals moved the Brazilian from Ukraine to Russia and subsequently onto the Premier League.
After spells with Anzhi Makhachkala and Shakhtar Donetsk, the forward was all set to sign for Tottenham before Chelsea spoiled the party with a cheque for £32m. Willian has gone on to become a fan favourite at the Bridge.
4) Kevin de Bruyne (Manchester City) – £79.7million
De Bruyne was good enough aged 20 for Chelsea to pay Genk £6.7m for his services but he never settled in west London and eventually moved to Wolfsburg for £18m in 2015.
A year later he was back in England, now apparently worth £55m, leaving the Blues to wonder what on earth happened during those 12 months away.
3) Paul Pogba (Manchester United) – £100million
The most expensive free transfer in history took place in 2012 when Pogba was allowed to leave Old Trafford for nothing.
He quickly won four consecutive Serie A titles with Juventus, became a mainstay in the France national side and compelled United to fork out a world record sum to bring the midfielder and his haircuts back to the Premier League.
2) David Luiz (Chelsea) – £101million
The original Brazilian geezer is the world’s most expensive defender ever. If defender is the right word.
This ‘Playstation footballer’ secured a dramatic return to Chelsea on deadline day, cueing a spectacular over-reaction from Blues fans whose love affair with the charismatic Luiz knows no bounds.
1) Zlatan Ibrahimovic (Manchester United) – £133.2million
Of course he’s No 1.
The languid Swede’s transfer history is gawp-inducing – £5m from Malmo to Ajax, £12m from the Dutch side to Juventus, £20m to swap the Old Lady for the San Siro, £56.5m to Barca from Inter, £24m back to Milan with AC and £15.7m from the Rossoneri to PSG.
This summer was the first time in his career that Ibrahimovic did not command a transfer fee but his £260,000-per-week wage packet certainly makes up for that.