Eddie Howe believes Bournemouth could have had to stump 20 times what they paid for Ryan Fraser if they bought him now.
The winger left Pittodrie in 2013 for the then-League One side for a fee of £400,000.
This season, Fraser has come into his own, making his Premier League debut in August and earning a Scotland call-up.
His form has won him a host of admirers from pundits in England and he has forced Gordon Strachan’s hand to pick him.
Howe brought the youngster in when the south coast club were fighting for survival in England’s third tier.
Fraser had only made 23 appearances for the Dons after coming through the ranks at Pittodrie, making his debut at just 16.
Now in the Premier League, he believes it would cost the Cherries significantly more to bring in a player of that ilk.
He said: “We signed Ryan when we were in League One because we believed in his ability as a player.
“It is slightly relative to where we were when we recruited them because if you want a player in your second season in the Premier League, the fees gets multiplied by 10, 20 or whatever.
“There are players you have to pay big money for because that is the level we are competing at now.”
Despite this being Bournemouth’s second campaign in England’s top flight, Fraser only made his Premier League debut this season.
The 23-year-old was farmed out to Ipswich last year but worked his way into Howe’s thinking at Dean Court.
And the progressive Howe hopes other players at the club can look to Fraser as proof that patience is a virtue.
He said: “Other players can look at Ryan and use him as an inspiration. He had to be very patient and could easily have gone the other way and thought ‘I’m not waiting any longer’.
“I would have said that would have been a mistake, but you can’t control a player’s feelings. Hopefully, he felt we were developing him behind the scenes so when he got his opportunity, he was ready to take it.
“Hopefully, those players we have recruited since will be the next Ryan Fraser in the future. They will be the ones who were really good purchases and cheap compared with prices now.
“We believe fees are inflated because of the level we are at. But they could prove to be very astute buys – maybe not now, but maybe in a year’s time.”