Has the summer transfer window finally gone supernova? Have we reached the grossly bloated and beguiling transfer window island of a zany and enigmatic doctor? Stranded and frightfully disoriented, we search for sustenance and try to make some sense of where we are. Where exactly are we? From last week's events, we're at the limit and moving beyond it.
This is Madness part one.
Let's get onto Paul Pogba later, but fear not Juventus fans and sympathisers, Manchester United are not the only club to considerably overvalue and intend to overpay for a talented footballer. Yes, Juventus have decided to trigger Gonzalo Higuaín's release clause after his record-breaking season for Napoli.
Arsenal were rumoured to be interested in the striker once again, but paying close to £80 million is outlandish. Higuaín is very good, but he turns 29 in December, making this quite the pricy short-term move. After losing Alváro Morato to Real Madrid according to the the terms of his buyback clause earlier in the summer, a priority has been finding a top class partner for the delightful Pablo Dybala. The Argentinian pair should combine to form a formidable frontline.
Furthermore, Juventus have become a little bored with continuing to win the Scudetto season after season; the Champions League is the target from here on in for Massimiliano Allegri and the board. After winning five straight Serie A titles, this line of thinking is as understandable as it is inevitable. Will Mehdi Benatia, Dani Alves, Miralem Pjanić, and Gonzalo Higuaín bring the improvements needed to make a step forward in Europe?
Juventus have a good Champions League record in recent seasons, but when a club brings in a player for a fee close to the world record, his numbers have to be monstrous. Higuaín had a goal scoring season to end all seasons in Serie A but often misses when his club or nation is at the precipice of a decisive victory. Despite these widespread reservations, it must be noted that Higuaín is goals. He will score goals as that's what he does. There will be many, but will there be enough to justify such an outlay? Well, Napoli and Argentina legend Diego Maradona is feeling hurt so that's not a good start.
"This Higuain affair is hurting me because he is going to a direct rival like Juventus. But we cannot blame the player either. A player has a responsibility to himself and it is those fat cats of business that are grinning the most in this case. Nobody thinks of the fan."
You tell 'em what's what, Diego.
This is Madness part two.
On the subject of justifying an outlay of inconceivable proportions, Paul Scholes -- as he is wont to do -- remains unconvinced about the worth of Paul Pogba. Scholes was playing for Manchester United when Pogba was coming through, and although he appreciates the midfielder's talents, doubts were raised surrounding the value José Mourinho's side will get by making it rain for Pogba, Mino Raiola, and Juventus.
"He was a very talented young player, I played with him and I knew how good he was," Scholes said with a presumably furrowed and unimpressed brow. "I just don't think he is worth £86m. For that sort of money, you want someone who is going to score 50 goals a season like Ronaldo or Messi. Pogba is nowhere near there yet."
Maybe Higuaín is worth that much after all. Manchester United are believed to have made an improved bid of £92 million to secure a player that left three years ago for a nominal fee. What a glorious nightmare for Liverpool's fiercest rivals. It seems that Pogba is certain to add to the seven appearances he made for Manchester United in the 2011/12 season, but before then, even more money will be squeezed from one of the world's richest clubs. Juventus reportedly want £100 million for the 23-year old. Incredibly, 20 percent of the fee goes to Mino Raiola. But guess what? Manchester United will pay that, too.
When Pogba does eventually make the move to the less appealing half of Manchester -- Pep Guardiola instantly makes any club a far more enticing than customary -- Mino Raiola will have banked big fees from and secured big moves for three of his clients. Sir Alex Ferguson, who in the past spoke of Pogba's disrespect in rejecting the club's offer of a new contract to move to Juventus, will find this whole affair most interesting. The young shall grow, and in desperation to recover what was once lost, they can prove to be quite costly indeed.
Managerial Moves and Grooves.
After Sam Allardyce graced England with his presence to succeed Roy Hodgson, David Moyes was swiftly appointed as the new Sunderland manager. It's a position that a security guard at this writer's day job described as "his level" when the subject came up. Although there was a unanimous opinion that Sunderland wouldn't get relegated under Moyes, the former Everton and Manchester United manager has a sizeable task to convince many that he's more than just "a safe pair of hands" in such a competitive league.
Moyes is a solid manager who tried to test himself at a big club and then abroad. It may not have worked out for him, but he's doing what many British managers and players fail to even attempt: work in foreign lands. Although many won't have the opportunity to get a chance in a top Premier League job as Moyes did, they could try to work abroad. Crediting a manager for doing the basics and failing isn't exactly high praise, but Moyes went into the unknown. His record at Everton is decent over a long period of time, making him a fine appointment for a club in need of stability.
Steve Bruce has left Hull City Whatever They're Called These Days By Their Barmy Owners. No investment or spending plus uncertainty over the ownership and the manager's position left the former Manchester United defender without much choice. In a league that's set to be more competitive than ever before, this does not look promising. At all. Bruce was gracious (sensible or clever for the more cynical among you) enough to thank the supporters, but a new manager will be needed quickly to oversee what could be a trying campaign.
Done Deals Everywhere and Anywhere.
Let's breeze though the completed transfers that have taken place in the past week or so.
A big favourite of this particular column has made a necessary step up in the Bundesliga. It's the counter attacking prince otherwise known as André Schürrle. He's made a big move to Borussia Dortmund from Wolfsburg for a fee of £30 million. Mario Götze has also increased Thomas Tuchel's attacking options for around £21 million, which will provide Dortmund with a healthy a,out of competition in the pursuit of Bayern Munich as well as trophies. These two along with Shinji Kagawa, Marco Reus, Emre Mor, and Moussa Dembélé should be sufficient support for the deadly Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.
Andre Gomes is on his way to Barcelona for a fee worth up to £45.6 million. The 22-year-old midfielder will move on from Valencia to boost the Catalan club's options in the centre of the park. Alen Halilović, however, has made an interesting move to Hamburg for £4.2 million. The Croatian schemer will hope to blossom in the Bundesliga, and if Barcelona want him back, there is an option to re-sign for just £8.3 million over the next two years. Prudent business by José Mourinho's favourite club.
Álvaro Negredo is a Middlesbrough player. Will he push out Jordan Rhodes or combine with him? What's certain is that Negredo will be a focal point for the promoted club and could enjoy talismanic status under Aitor Karanka. Hey, you there! Do you know anything about goalkeeper Nick Pope or winger Johann Berg Gudmundsson. Well, neither do I. The Charlton Athletic pair have become Premier League players by signing up with promoted Burnley. Watford signed a player from Marseille called Brice Dja Djede. Yes, it's that Brice. You know the one, don't you?
Apart from snapping up a midfield maestro in Joe Allen, Stoke City have signed Ramadan Sobi for a fee that could rise to £5 million. Only 19 years of age, Sobi has racked up 71 appearances for Al Ahly -- a club with a huge following. Stoke fans will be hoping that the Egyptian winger will prove to be a bargain over time. Also, Emanuele Giaccherini has joined Napoli from Sunderland. He produced some solid performances during Euro 2016 but remains a bit of a curiosity. He really shouldn't be slumming it and could be a surprise success next season. Napoli, meanwhile, have conducted a piece of outgoing business by loaning Juan Camilo Zuniga to Watford FC.
Arsenal snapped up Rob Holding to spark a predictable and familiar reaction. The young centre back moved from Bolton Wanderers for a meaty £2 million to leave Gooners in unprecedented transfer window turmoil. Not quite Gonzalo Higuaín, is he? The thing is, though, that signing Holding isn't going to prevent Arsenal from moving for big players. A relatively cheap youngster has little to do with not seeing value or sense in purchasing a player who's going to be 29 in December for a fee close to the existing world record. Sometimes it's difficult to decide whether Liverpool or Arsenal fans are worse about this sort of thing.
Of course, we all know the sporting and psychological representation of unrefined magnificence that is Kolo Touré has joined Brendan Rodgers at Celtic FC. KOLO. KOLO KOLO. KOLO KOLO. KOLO, KOLO TOURÉ.