Lukaku became the club’s second most expensive player of all time after signing from Everton for £75m while Matic joined from Chelsea for just £40m.
Neymar’s £198m move, which went through days after Matic became a United player, has in turn led to PSG paying £165m for Kylian Mbappe and Barcelona shelling out £135m for Ousmane Dembele, who cost Borussia Dortmund just £12m just a year ago.
And Mourinho, in an interview with the Times, has noted that Lukaku and Matic, had they been signed in late August, would have cost double the amount.
“Lukaku and Matic, now, would have cost us £200m in total,” he said. “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.”
The transfer window has gone into overdrive. Prices were always going to rise, of course, but this sudden explosion even belies Keynesian economics as a whole.
Quantifying a player’s worth is no longer doable. Big money moves are essentially grounded in guesswork: Mbappe did not cost £165m because of one good season with AS Monaco; he cost that much because PSG have made a calculated guess that, this time next year, that fee will seem nominal.
This is what happened with Paul Pogba, and the same is indeed now panning out for Mourinho’s most recent additions.