Jose Mourinho has praised Manchester United’s work in the transfer market, hailing the club for getting their deals done early. The Portuguese revealed that the Old Trafford side had a feeling there would be a seismic transfer event this summer, and when Neymar moved to Paris Saint-Germain for €222 million, they were proved correct.
As a result, he was delighted that he had already done the bulk of his business by the start of August, when the Brazilian made his move to France, having captured Romelu Lukaku for £70 million from Everton and Nemanja Matic for £40m from Chelsea.
“I think we were very clever,” he told the Times. “We thought that something could happen which could change the market forever. Normally the last part of the market is less expensive, but this season, after Neymar everything changed – and changed for the worse in terms of prices.
“I think Lukaku on August 31 would have been £150m. Matic would have been £60m or £70m.
“Lukaku and Matic, now, would have cost us £200m in total. But because we did it in the first part of the summer, it was much less. I think we did well in financial terms and well in preparation terms, getting them before the season started. That is not crucial but it is important.”
To illustrate the change in attitudes, he used Barcelona’s failed pursuit of Liverpool playmaker Philippe Coutinho, with the Anfield club knocking back repeated offers from the Camp Nou outfit.
“Neymar changed everything. If the biggest transfer in history had still been Pogba, I think Philippe Coutinho would now be in Barcelona at £101m. People look to the £200m figure now. Now the players of £20m became £40m, the players of £40m became £60m and everything changed.”