AS Monaco vice-president Vadim Vasilyev has revealed further financial details regarding Manchester United's pursuit of Anthony Martial, confirming that the Premier League giants made four bids of rapidly increasing value for the promising French forward over the course of a week before finally succeeding with a sizeable offer totalling £57.6m ($88m) prior to transfer deadline day.
Former Lyon striker Martial, 19, was on international duty with the France national team ahead of upcoming friendlies against Portugal and Serbia when news of United's interest broke. He was subsequently granted a leave of absence to travel to Old Trafford in order to undergo a medical and conclude an agreement over personal terms.
Tottenham were credited with a strong interest in the player earlier this summer, with reports from The Independent in June citing sources in France that suggested a fee of £18m was close to being agreed with Monaco.
Martial eventually signed a contract extension at the Stade Louis II that will no doubt have had escalated his value, yet the realisation that he could have been purchased at an earlier date for a far cheaper sum has irked some supporters and drawn comparisons with David Moyes' one and only summer window in charge, when the club similarly dithered and were forced into paying over the odds for the services of Marouane Fellaini after the release clause in his Everton contract was allowed to expire.
However, it appears that Ed Woodward and friends did indeed begin the bidding at a more reasonable level, although the stakes were upped dramatically due to Monaco's insistence that they would not be selling another key asset following the departures of Geoffrey Kondogbia, Yannick Ferreira Carrasco, Layvin Kurzawa and Aymen Abdennour.
Confirming the overall cost of the deal that saw Martial succeed United left-back Luke Shaw as the most expensive teenager in the history of world football, Vasilyev told The Sun: "It's true that the price for Martial is £57.6m but take into account this sum includes bonuses which are very realistic.
"Initially Martial was not for sale, it was absolutely not planned. Since last week United started to make offers which we declined several times – £21.6m, £28.8m, £36m, even £50.4m with bonuses. On Sunday the player got such an offer that he couldn't have declined. He asked us to find a solution and on Monday morning Manchester United made an offer to Monaco which the club couldn't refuse."
Monaco have dealt closely with Premier League clubs in the transfer market during recent windows, negotiating deals with both United and Chelsea for the loan of Radamel Falcao and offloading Emmanuel Riviere to Newcastle. The Ligue 1 outfit also turned a tidy profit while selling Colombian James Rodriguez to Real Madrid just one season after his arrival from Porto, although Vasilyev insists it is England where the balance of financial power now firmly lies.
"It's absolutely unique," he added. "It's the price of Luis Suarez or Neymar – the best players in the world. Right now English football is on a different financial level and if Manchester United decides to buy somebody, it's very hard to stop them."