The Copa America is less than two weeks away, with the kickoff in Argentina set for July 1, but four of the players expected to star in South America's quadrennial championship already are the talk of the European summer transfer market.
The world's wealthiest clubs are lining up to throw money at one or more of the names they hope will either keep them at the top or get them there.
Spanish and European champion Barcelona, for example, already has said it will splash out more than $60 million, even though most fans would say there is little that needs fixing at the Camp Nou, where Argentina's Lionel Messi is the brightest in a glittering array of stars.
"Initially, we have $64 million, but we might use part of next year's money too," Sandro Rosell, Barcelona's president, said the other day, underlining the pressure that leading clubs are under to keep raising the ante.
English champion Manchester United, the runner-up to Barcelona in Europe, also has its eye on Latin American talent.
The four South American names at the top of Europe's summer shopping list are Argentina's Sergio "Kun" Aguero and Javier Pastore, Brazil's Neymar and Chile's Alexis Sanchez. Together, their transfer fees could total as much as $200 million.
Neymar, the 19-year-old forward who plays for Santos in the Brazilian league but who long has been coveted by England's Chelsea, is being touted as the next global superstar, although an indifferent Copa America performance could alter that trajectory.
"Neymar is like Messi," claims his agent, Wagner Ribeiro. "Soon he will be the best in the world because he is a player like no other."
So how much is the otherworldly player worth?
"He would not leave for less than $66 million," Ribeiro told an English tabloid, the Sun, this month.
At that price, Chelsea might want to think twice, unless it intends to sell Spanish forward Fernando Torres, acquired from Liverpool in January for $80 million and a disappointment ever since.
Then, too, if the club gets Dutch taskmaster Guus Hiddink as its new coach, it is unlikely that Hiddink would long tolerate Neymar's ridiculously oversized Mohawk haircut or his occasional tantrums. Both are evidence of the teenager's immaturity, no matter how silky his soccer skills.
Neymar is untested in Europe, which makes other South Americans who have proved their worth on the continent perhaps the more sensible investment.
Barcelona, for instance, is chasing Chilean winger Sanchez, with Manchester City, Inter Milan, Manchester United, Juventus, Real Madrid and others also hot in pursuit of the 22-year-old from Tocopilla.
Sanchez has spent the last three seasons with Udinese in Italy's Serie A, and the team's owner, Gianpaolo Pozzo, has been adamant that the club would have to be adequately compensated for its most valuable player.
"The right offer has not yet arrived," Pozzo said. "Alexis is a player everybody wants, but he is also a player with a specific price. It is not easy for anyone to buy him."
A similar stance is being taken by Maurizio Zamparini, president of the Sicilian club Palermo, over the future of Pastore, who turns 22 on Monday.
"Pastore is not going anywhere for a transfer fee below $71 million," Zamparini told Italy's Radio Radio, tossing out what is surely a fantasy figure.
Palermo acquired the playmaker from his Argentine club, Hurucan, two years ago for $19 million, meaning the Serie A club stands to make a sizeable profit even if he does not fetch $71 million.
Another Argentine who is ready to move on is Aguero. The 23-year-old forward has been playing for Atletico Madrid for five years but needs a new challenge with a more ambitious team.
Crossing town from Atletico's Vincente Calderon stadium to Real Madrid's Santiago Bernabeu would be the simplest move, if not the most popular among fans of either club.
But Real Madrid, in the same league as Manchester City and Chelsea when it comes to splashing out huge amounts of money, is playing the waiting game.
Meanwhile, reports linking Aguero to Juventus have been denied, and the player has said he will not make any decision until after the Copa America, which ends with the July 24 final in Buenos Aires.
The big four might easily become the big 10 if some other moves involving top South Americans come about.
Argentine Carlos Tevez's future at Manchester City is uncertain. Arsenal reportedly has had a $35-million offer for Ukraine-based Brazilian Willian rejected by Shakhtar Donetsk. Liverpool is said to be close to buying Colombian defender Cristian Zapata from Udinese.
"I will wait until the end of the Copa America, like many of my teammates, to decide my future," Zapata told El Pais, the global Spanish-language newspaper. "I have gained experience, but the time has come for me to make the jump to a big team."
Another Colombian, striker Radamel Falcao, led Porto to its undefeated season in Portugal and to the Europa League title. He could make a big-money move.
Real Madrid could sell Brazil's underperforming Kaka. Manchester City is still hot on high-scoring Uruguayan striker Edison Cavani, despite Napoli's asking price of around $65 million.
The transfer window closes Aug. 31. The off-field games have just begun.