More money than ever has been spent on players in the Championship, but not all of them can be a success.
As the Championship season slowly comes to its conclusion, there a number of teams fighting over the promotion slots. The race for the Premier League has not been this close for many a year, with no team pulling away from the closing pack and just five points separating 1st and 6th.
With games coming thick and fast, the strength and depth of squads are now being tested with teams taking the toll of suspensions and injuries in a long season. Managers are not just judged on results but on the perceived value of players that they have brought in and the way that they have performed; too many expensive mistakes and a chairman won't wait for too many defeats to hand over the dreaded P45.
Ole Gunnar Solskjær found this out to his cost earlier in the season, getting the bullet from Cardiff City as the Bluebirds struggled to get the results needed to bounce back into the Premier League at the first attempt. Following the former Manchester United forward out of the door were several of his compatriots, brought in during the previous winter to try and prevent the drop - Magnus Wolff Eikrem, Mats Møller Dæhli and Jo Inge Berget all being moved on as quickly as possible as Vincent Tan looked to cut his losses.
Fulham spent big in the summer transfer window to try and secure their own return, spending £8million rising to £11million on Leeds striker Ross McCormack. While the Scot hasn't been a complete failure, returning 12 goals in 41 appearances, Fulham have struggled in the Championship and one would expect that McCormack would probably have needed to score a lot more to justify his humongous price tag.
When operating at the other end of the financial scale it's harder for managers who must make every penny count. Jose Riga paid the price at Blackpool earlier this season, with several of his players such as Sergei Zenjov, Joan Oriol and Ishmael Miller moved on quickly as they couldn't cut the mustard. They may not have cost much in financial terms but when a chairman is counting every penny, every wasted signing is hard to swallow.
One man's flop is another man's success - ask Steve McClaren at Derby County and Tom Ince. The former Blackpool man played on loan for Derby's rivals Nottingham Forest but failed to establish himself in Stuart Pearce's team and was recalled from his spell at the City Ground early having made just six league appearances without scoring. Following his move to the iPro Stadium on deadline day, Ince has found his form, scoring five times in seven appearances and looks to be the player once again who was interesting Internazionale last summer.
Transfer flops are a fact of life and as more money flows into the game the stakes will be raised on players signed for big fees and big wages to perform; promotion to the Promised Land of the Premier League means untold riches for a football club and increasingly bigger gambles are being made to get there.