Transfer News: Why Manchester United Didn’t Spend On Deadline Day

Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho has spoken for the first time about how Neymar’s world-record move from Barcelona to Paris Saint-Germain distorted the summer transfer window.

Neymar, 25, shocked the football world when he left the Catalan giant for the French capital this summer for £201.9 million ($263 million). His transfer opened up a bitter rift with Barcelona, the club that brought him to Europe from Santos in Brazil. On Tuesday, Neymar called Barcelona President Josep Maria Bartomeu a “joke,” after Bartomeu had claimed in the Spanish press that Barcelona would be better off this season without the Brazil international.

Neymar’s transfer did not just cause problems for Barcelona, though. Mourinho told The Times that the huge fee paid by P.S.G. inflated the market for other star players, though United was apparently prepared for such an eventuality.

"I think we were very clever," Mourinho said. "We thought that something could happen that 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 [Romelu] Lukaku on August 31 would have been £150 million. [Nemanja] Matic would have been £60 million or £70 million. Neymar changed everything. If the biggest transfer in history had still been [Paul] Pogba, I think Philippe Coutinho would now be in Barcelona at £101 million.”

United signed Lukaku from Everton for around £75 million, while Matic cost a reported £40 million. Matic, the Serbia midfielder, signed at the end of July while the Lukaku deal was completed even earlier, at the start of July.

While Neymar has begun in vibrant fashion at P.S.G., both Matic and Lukaku have also been influential for a United side that leads the Premier League after three games with a perfect record of nine points.

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