Over the years, some big-money signings have flopped and ended up leaving for nothing, while others have gone on to become club legends and more than justified their costly price.
With spending in football being reigned in among ongoing financial uncertainty caused by Covid-19, we aren't expecting to see a huge amount of record deals landed this summer, but there could yet be some surprises ahead of the 2021/22 campaign kicking off in August.
In the meantime, for a bit of pre-season fun, we've taken a look at every Championship club's record signing fee, as well as the side they turn out for now.
Here's a look at how Middlesbrough s record signing fee shapes up against every other club they'll be facing in the Championship this season:
1. 24th - Blackpool
Record signing: DJ Campbell. Estimated transfer fee: £1.25m from (Leicester City in 2010). Current club: The Aston Villa youth academy product retired in 2015, ending his career with Maidenhead United.
Photo: Chris Brunskill
2. 23rd - Luton Town
Record signing: Simon Sluga. Estimated transfer fee: £1.3m (from Rijeka in 2019). Current club: The Croatia international remains a Luton player, and will continue to be a key player in the club's progression to becoming an established Championship side.
Photo: Matthew Lewis
3. 22nd - Preston North End
Record signing: Ben Whiteman. Estimated transfer fee: £1.5m (from Doncaster Rovers in 2021). Current club: He joined the Lilywhites in last January's transfer window.
Photo: Clive Brunskill
4. 21st - Barnsley
Record signing: Georgi Hristov. Estimated transfer fee: £1.5m (from Partizan in 2007). Current club: He retired in 2009, concluding his career with Finnish side JJK.
Photo: Nathan Stirk