Jose Mourinho has underestimated the appetite for the change of Manchester United.
When it came time to cut the rope to its toxic realm, £ 20 million was considered a price that was worth paying.
"If you send me away, do you have any idea how much money they should have given me?" Mourinho told Italian journalists in September.
Three months later he was fired – and the latest United financial results, which included record revenue of £ 208 million and profits of £ 44 million, serve as evidence of the club's ability to absorb the cost of bankruptcy.
And if Daniel Levy believes that a compensation package worth tens of millions of pounds will prove prohibitive for Ed Woodward's search for Mauricio Pochettino, he will be disappointed.
The Tottenham manager provided a last reminder of why he has long been at the top of United's list of managerial desires this week, leading the Spurs within 90 minutes of the Champions League quarter-finals.
A few weeks after two cup trophies in space, three days have cleaned up his candidacy to become Mourinho's permanent successor, the re-emergence of Spurs as title contenders and Wednesday's 3-0 win against Borussia Dortmund have justified the continuation Woodward's admiration.
The executive vice president of United this week stressed his intention to continue his extensive and in-depth process to recruit a fourth manager in six years, despite the exceptional start of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer as provisional.
"We will not give the updates in part," he told investors on the New York Stock Exchange.
In private, the feeling inside Old Trafford is that Solskjaer's growing credentials to get the job are a good problem.
But if the Norwegian is designated, it will be the resurrection of United in the field, rather than the fact that it represents a much cheaper option than Pochettino – or even any of the other names taken into consideration, from Max Allegri to Zinedine Zidane.
Standard sport he understands that United will not be discouraged by the prospect of paying Spurs a compensation commission, which is believed to exceed £ 34 million in the remaining four years of the Pochettino contract.
As for United accounts, the package would be distributed along the length of any agreement proposed to Old Trafford, making it a much less daunting item.
Such figures are unusual and even bizarre for managerial appointments – but considering Woodward's despair in getting the right man, it is unlikely that the cost of landing Pochettino is the determining factor if the Argentine can be convinced to make the change.
In the context, United was willing to pay 52 million pounds for Fred last summer and the Brazilian has yet to make 10 Premier League starts.
Woodward knows he faces a few months critically in his post while conducting a double search for manager and director of football.
The pressure on him has eased thanks to the transformative effect of Solskjaer from the success of Mourinho in December.
The 1999 hero, winner of Treble, also provided him with an unlikely joker.
But the defeat in Paris Saint Germain on Tuesday provided something of a reality check.
With the games against Chelsea, Liverpool and the return to PSG in quick succession, the future of Solskjaer could do a lot to be decided in the coming weeks.
There is a growing support for the 45-year-old at all levels of the club, as well as among supporters.
If he were to keep United's place in the top four, he would make a convincing argument to stay in position.
But Woodward strategically bought the time to make a decision and United will continue to closely monitor Pochettino.
Two men now drive the race to be handed the keys to Old Trafford in the summer. And when the decision is made, it will be reduced to credentials rather than costs.