Manchester United may have paid more than twice as much in acquiring Bruno Fernandes in January compared to what he would be worth now in the current financial climate, says Sporting C.P. president Federico Varandas.
The Red Devils moved to bring a long-running saga to a close during the winter window when adding a Portugal international midfielder to their books.
Fernandes has made an immediate impact in English football, with many quick to suggest that United landed themselves quite the bargain in an initial €55 million (£47m/$60m) outlay.
That agreement could end up costing the Premier League giants much more in various add-ons, but they will be happy to pay up if current standards can be maintained by the talented 25-year-old.
Those at Old Trafford are also unlikely to be overly concerned by the fact that they could have secured Fernandes for considerably less had they opted against securing his signature mid-season.
The Covid-19 pandemic has forced clubs around the world to tighten their purse strings, while the bottom is expected to fall out of a market that had been inflated by Neymar’s record-breaking move to Paris Saint-Germain in 2017.
Varandas concedes as much, with it his opinion that Fernandes’ asking price could have been cut in half.
He told SIC: “The crisis caused by Covid-19 harms the European football industry in general.
“But, of all countries, Portugal is the most affected, because 50 per cent of revenues come from the sale of players
“He [Fernandes] was sold for €65m in January. Today, what would he be worth? Maybe €20m? €30m? Nobody knows.”
While Sporting are happy to have got the best possible price for Fernandes, they are currently locked in a battle with Serie A side Sampdoria regarding a supposed 10 per cent sell-on clause.
A FIFA spokesperson has said of that dispute: "We can confirm that on April 3, 2020 the Italian club, Sampdoria, lodged a claim with FIFA against the Portuguese club, Sporting Clube de Portugal, related to financial obligations set out in the contract corresponding to the transfer of the Portuguese player, Bruno Fernandes.
"The matter is currently being investigated and consequently we cannot provide further comments."