Scouting football players as young as five, persuading an 11-year-old to sign a contract with private school education or offering a teenager's parents a house.
These are some of the things English clubs are doing to secure the country's best youngsters in an increasingly desperate fight to beat rivals to sign potential stars.
"Money talks," sighs Sheffield United's chief academy scout Luke Fedorenko as he describes how he has just lost two 11-year-olds to Manchester City. "But we must be doing something right."
Fedorenko was one of 320 coaches and scouts at a recent Football Association conference at St George's Park to discuss what one keynote speaker, Professor Ross Tucker, calls a "race to the bottom".
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