In the wake of the Champions League final defeat there is talk that Rafa Benitez (not to mention every club in the world) needs to sign some "big names", "proven quality", and "world-class performers".
The idea being to inject some extra match-winning class to move on to the next stage.
But most of the big teams don't do that.
Vieira once complained to Wenger that Arsene needed to sign a world-class player. Wenger replied that Vieira wasn't "world class" when he signed him.
Ronaldihno (PSG), Essien (Lyon), Schevchenko (Kiev), Zidane (Bordeaux), Ronaldo (PSV), Ronaldo (Sporting), Rooney (Everton), Figo (Sporting), Drogba (Marseille), Henry (Juventus - but wasn't playing/rated), Vieira (Milan, but wasn't playing), Van Nis (PSV), Keane (Forrest), Bergkamp (Inter - but wasn't playing), Shearer (Southampton).
The players who have made the biggest impact have tended to be the best players in a smaller league, the best players from a middle-ranking club in a major league, or failed experiments in Milan or Juve.
Players with something to prove, not men who have already made a name.
None of these came cheap (several of them worth more than 20 mil), but the way to get world-class players seems to be to buy players that aren't world class yet.
Barca, Juve, Chelsea, Milan, Man U, Arsenal - much of their success has been built on this type of purchase. When Madrid went out to but "the best player in the world every year", the team was kack.
By contrast, the catalyst that made Barcelona great again was Ronaldihno. From PGS, where there were serious question marks over his ability and his lifestyle.
Ferguson's side needed new life. Ronaldo, Rooney, Carrick, Vidic. Two prospects, two under-rated players.
And he's done it before. Keane and Cantona - British transfer records broken, but neither were seen as "world class" before they reached Old Trafford. Neither were Stam, Van Nistelrooy, Yorke, or a host of others. Veron was a big name when he arrived. So was Barthez.
Mourinho needed to take a talented team and make them winners. Drogba, Essien, Carvalho did that. Even Makelele was disrespected at Madrid (he was on a 'paltry' £10,000 a week). Chelsea sign two "world class names" and it all goes a bit wrong.
Newcastle have spend the last ten years buying "big names" - Kluivert, Owen, Woodgate, Bramble, Parker, Duff, Emre, not to mention Shearer. They let Gascoigne and Carrick go. They have won nothing.
Inter anyone? Moratti spent more than £300m on players to win the Uefa cup.
Some players live up to their world-class status in a new home. For one season Zidane, Figo, and Ronaldo won Madrid the European cup in 2002. But most would agree that the Galactico experiment was not a resounding success.
So my advice to Rafa - if you want the best you have to buy from the second-tier.