Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has stressed that missing out on Champions League football next season would not harm Manchester United’s transfer prospects this summer.
Last Sunday’s 1-1 draw with Chelsea means a fourth-placed finish is extremely unlikely, although not impossible: Man United need to handsomely beat Huddersfield Town and Cardiff City, hope Arsenal drop points, and hope Chelsea fail to win against both Watford and Leicester City.
Supporters are, however, effectively resigned to the fact that United will return to the Europa League next season following a slump towards the end of the season.
Speaking at a press conference on Friday, Solskjaer revealed how a number of top players were nonetheless attracted by the lure of joining Man United over the summer.
Ole: “You'd be surprised how many players' agents have been touting their players, telling us that their players would love to be a part of United. They know the potential and size of the club, that we will, in the end, get back to the good days.” #mufc [Mirror]
— United Xtra (@utdxtra) May 3, 2019
There is an often propogated idea that without Champions League football your club has no pulling power, both financially and in terms of its standing in the wider football food chain. The logic stipulates that teams with Champions League football immediately have more allure than those who aren’t in the competition.
This notion is false. With TV deals funnelling billions into the football world and sponsorhip dominating more aspects of the game, financial revenue derived from qualifying for the Champions League is actually quite negligible – especially for United.
Moreover, let us not forget that, with Champions League football guaranteed last year, the only major signing United made was Fred from Shakhtar Donetsk. Without Champions League football in 2016, United signed Paul Pogba, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Eric Bailly and Henrikh Mkhitaryan. That lure, as Solskjaer said, will always be there.