On the face of things, Ashley Young was a good deal for Manchester United. With a transfer fee of around £16M, the England international wasn't too pricy and could serve as a versatile, homegrown attacking player. United clearly weren't seeing him as a saviour, but at that price, he didn't need to be - he's just a handy player to have around.
And then news of his wages emerged. With Aston Villa, Young was on the princely figure of £60,000 pounds per week, which translates to a touch over £3M a season. That's not cheap, by any means, but it's not overly expensive for a footballer either. With Manchester United, he'll be earning twice that amount, putting him in with the league's elite earners. No wonder he wanted to move on so badly!
Adding together his transfer fee and his wages over the lifetime of his contract, Ashley Young will end up costing Manchester United £9.44M per year over the next five years, making him so close to being a £50M football player that you can't really tell the difference. If you're a United fan and that makes you queasy, I suggest you do a similar calculation on Chelsea's Fernando Torres. It'll make you feel far better.