Manchester United will head to Villa Park on Saturday with Rio Ferdinand and Wayne Rooney, the two most expensive signings between British clubs, in their ranks.
Their combined transfer fees — #56 million — represent almost as much money as Randy Lerner needed to spend to buy Aston Villa in September.
It is an illustration of the gulf between the elite of the Premiership and the also-rans like Aston Villa.
But, as Villa supporters wait to see the amount of money Lerner makes available to Martin O'Neill next month, they might remember that, in chief scout Ian Storey-Moore, they have a man who was once hot property himself.
Storey-Moore was the Rooney of his day, the second-most expensive footballer in the country, with the obligatory Seventies haircut and sideburns.
The morning he signed for United from Nottingham Forest for #200,000 in March 1972, it was only after a blaze of publicity that would have sent football's modern-day media organisations into meltdown.
The Suffolk-born winger had earned himself a fine reputation at Forest, scoring 105 goals in 235 league appearances. He was set to sign for Frank O'Farrell at Old Trafford when Brian Clough, then the Derby County manager, tried to gazump the United manager.
Clough even paraded his "capture" on the pitch before a Derby home match, thinking he had secured the transfer. Storey-Moore now says that this was a classic case of jumping the gun.
"Back in those days, you did what Cloughie told you," Storey-Moore said. "I had been given permission to talk to Derby County. And, when I made my appearance on the pitch that day, I just assumed that the deal had been done.
"But Forest had a chairman, Tony Woods, who was not a great fan of Cloughie's and he would never have allowed me to go to Derby. So I ended up going to United instead, as originally planned."
It was a United side in need of rebuilding. By signing for #200,000, Storey-Moore was an instant hit, scoring five goals in his first 11 games at the end of the 1971-72 season.
He missed out on a medal as the title went to Clough and Co. at the Baseball Ground. By the end of the season after, just as Britain was facing a three-day week and power cuts, Storey-Moore's own career was plunged into darkness when he was forced, at the age of 28, to give up the game.
But this good-natured, softly-spoken North Midlander, now 61, is not the sort to harbour feelings of bitterness.
"That Derby side had some great players," he said. "Roy McFarland, Colin Todd, John O'Hare, Kevin Hector. But, if I'd signed, Cloughie would probably have just stuck me in the reserves.
"And, in any case, I went on to play with George Best, Denis Law and Bobby Charlton at United. And, although it was a side that was starting to grow old and needed changing, who knows what would have happened if I hadn't got injured."
The same knee injury that had wrecked his England career later ended his playing career altogether. It was during his Forest career that he earned his solitary England cap, in January 1970, in a 0-0 draw against Holland at Wembley.
So impressive was his performance that he was picked in Sir Alf Ramsey's preliminary squad for the 1970 World Cup in Mexico. His image was one of those struck as part of Esso's World Cup coin collection.
He was told he would play in the next match, against Belgium in Brussels in February, but the weekend the squad was picked, he suffered a medial knee ligament injury playing against Manchester City. It was a the same injury that finished him in 1973.
Through a brief spell as manager with Burton Albion, via a long spell back at Forest, first coaching the Academy kids and then ten years as chief scout, his experience has not been wasted. O'Neill, on taking over as manager of Villa last August, realised how useful Storey-Moore's experience would be.
When O'Neill was given the job, with no time to make any impact on the August transfer window, he was only able to sign Stilyan Petrov.
But the first target for Storey-Moore was to help O'Neill plan for January. And, despite having spent a busy autumn travelling both home and abroad, Storey-Moore says that the impact O'Neill has already had on the Villa players has tempered the need to make too many changes.
"It's important not to make panic buys," he said. "The summer is the best time to buy, especially foreign players, when you've more of a chance to bed them in properly and give them time to bring their families over here and settle.
"But, while there are one or two irons in the fire, and it's no secret that we'll be trying to do something next month, all I know is that if the right player is not available at the right price, we won't just buying players for the sake of it."