Manchester United boss Louis van Gaal has admitted that the fee paid for teenage French striker Anthony Martial was "a ridiculous amount of money", but added that it simply reflects the "crazy world" of football.
Van Gaal said the 19-year-old, signed from Monaco for £36million up front and a possible total fee of £58.8million, had been signed for the club's "next manager" - and suggested that would be his current assistant Ryan Giggs.
Speaking alongside Giggs at an event in Manchester for executive United season ticket-holders, Van Gaal was quoted by The Times as saying: "I have not bought Martial for me - I have bought him for the next manager of Manchester United."
He added of Giggs: "I feel I am introducing the next manager of Manchester United."
Van Gaal said of the Martial fee: "It was a ridiculous amount of money, but it's the crazy world we are in."
The Dutchman also claimed the Red Devils were quoted "£10million more" for a player than other clubs.
He also rejected criticism of United's recent style of football and results from former players, including Gary Neville and Paul Scholes, saying: "It makes me sick because they should know that it takes time."
Meanwhile, United said they did not wish to comment on a separate report in The Times that senior players have raised concerns with Van Gaal that his training methods were stifling their creativity.