Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho has admitted that the timing of the club’s bid to sign Romelu Lukaku from Everton this summer was crucial in getting the striker to Old Trafford for an acceptable price.
In a long interview with The Times, one of the things Mourinho discusses with Chief Football Correspondent Oliver Kay is this summer’s incredible transfer window, which saw Brazilian star Neymar become the world’s most expensive player by quite a distance.
Neymar moved from Barcelona to PSG for a staggering £198 million this summer, eclipsing the previous record of £89 million, which was of course the transfer of Paul Pogba from Juventus back to Manchester United.
Speaking of such fees, Mourinho said: “I think we were very clever,
““We thought that something could happen that could change the market forever.”
Of course, that something was to be Neymar’s move to Ligue 1. Mourinho continued: “I think Lukaku on August 31 would have been £150 million.”
Lukaku cost United £75 million at the start of July, and isn’t the only player Mourinho thinks would have cost more if the deal hadn’t been concluded until after the astronomical fee for Neymar was agreed:
“Matic would have been £60 million or £70 million. Neymar changed everything.
“People look to the £200 million figure now. Now the players of £20 million became £40 million, the players of £40 million became £60 million and everything changed.
“Lukaku and Matic, now, would have cost us £200 million in total. But because we did it in the first part of the summer, it was much less.”
Lukaku and Matic are both expected to start once again for United on Saturday, as the Red Devils travel to Stoke for their fourth Premier League game of the season.