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 Preston North End's record signing fee shapes up against every other club they'll be facing in the Championship this season:
1. 1st - Bournemouth
Record signing: Jefferson Lerma. Estimated transfer fee: £25m (from Levante in in 2018). Current club: He's still a Bournemouth player, and now has 24 caps at senior level for Colombia.
Photo: Naomi Baker
2. 2nd - Sheffield United
Record signing: Rhian Brewster. Estimated transfer fee: £23.5m (from Liverpool in 2020). Current club: Brewster struggled to make an impact last season, but he'll be looking to get back to his best in the second-tier when the 2021/22 campaign gets underway in August.
Photo: STU FORSTER
3. 3rd - Fulham
Record signing: Andre-Frank Zambo Anguissa. Estimated transfer fee: £23m (from Villarreal in 2018). Current club: While he's still at Fulham, a number of high-profile clubs are looking to snap him up this summer, after the Cottagers were relegated last season.
Photo: Marc Atkins
4. 4th - Stoke City
Record signing: Giannelli Imbula. Estimated transfer fee: £18.3m (from Porto in 2016). Current club: He was a total flop at Stoke, and is now turning out for Portuguese side Portimonense.
Photo: Michael Regan