Rio Ferdinand has noted Manchester United will end up like Liverpool if they fail to reach the Champions League this season.
Jose Mourinho‘s men currently occupy fifth spot in the Premier League table, four points behind Manchester City with a game in hand.
Failure to reach the Champions League in May would leave Man United with a grim record of claiming a place amongst Europe’s elite just once in four attempts.
And Ferdinand, speaking to Sport360, was quick to spell out the dangers of continuously failing to reach the Champions League, pointing towards Liverpool as a potent case study.
“Getting in the Champions League, no matter how United get there, is the remit I am sure for the manager,” he said.
“However they get there, people will be satisfied. This is because once you are in the Champions League, you can then start planning for recruitment with the Champions League in your back pocket.
“People know they cannot come up to you and say: ‘you haven’t got Champions League, I don’t want to come’.
“They’ve got a window where maybe if they didn’t get in the Champions League for the next one or two years, because of the size of the club and potential that is still there.
“Liverpool are a great example. They dominated the 1980s and now in terms of fighting for players, Liverpool would come quite a way down the roster when it comes to signing the top players on the planet.”
Liverpool have only managed a Champions League place on one occasion over the last seven seasons. And, as one would expect, the standard of talent flocking into the club every summer has dropped considerably.
Such an issue hasn’t tainted United in the same way, at least for now: they managed to break the world transfer record and sign Zlatan Ibrahimovic, after all, without even being able to use Champions League as bait. A true hallmark of the sheer power held by the badge.
That said, this won’t – as Liverpool have indeed discovered in hilarious fashion – continue for much longer, making qualification for the Champions League this season all the more important.