Will no Champions League football affect Manchester United’s transfer dealings?

Should the worst happen and Manchester United lose next week’s Europa League final to Ajax, many will console themselves that, once Jose Mourinho gets a few more players in, next season will be the season where United kick off and get themselves back amongst football’s elite teams. It is widely rumoured that Mourinho will have the kind of funds at his disposal to make bids for even the priciest of players in world football.

But, should United lose the Europa League final, then that means no Champion’s League football for a second successive season and, how attractive a prospect would the club be for the calibre of player that United will be looking to bring in?

Top players want to win the Champions League and to do that they have to be playing for teams who are in the competition, it’s just logic. Currently United are within are hair’s breadth of qualifying for Champions League football next season. This, plus their attractive wage deals and status as a top team, makes them a valid consideration for almost any player in the world.

The names going around for this season’s transfers are all top quality players. You have Kylian Mbappe, Jan Oblak, James Rodriguez, Renato Sanches (and Alexis Sanchez!), the list of names go on. Each name is already at a top tier team and is surely attracting the attentions of other ‘big guns’. Not one of United’s transfer targets isn’t already at a Champions League club and many of them are being courted by teams already qualified for the competition so, for United to be part of another season of Europa means that they would be a less attractive prospect and, also, in context, their future as a Champions League club would be in doubt, in any player’s mind.

Does this mean United must scale back their transfer ambitions? Could it be another disappointing window as it was under Moyes?

I think no. Even without Champion’s League United are still a very attractive proposition for several reasons.

The Club

United are a club steeped in history and a track record of excellence. It seems that, in every other interview, a player is always citing Eric Cantona, Paul Scholes or early Cristiano Ronaldo as their influences as a child, the chance to be a part of that heritage and leave a mark on one of the most successful clubs in the history of football is a big influence on many players.

The Manager

Say what you like, but Mourinho is still one of the greatest managers in the modern game and his reputation precedes him. Many players speak highly of their time under him (more than those who don’t) and for all his antics in the press, he is known as a man who has a connection to and stands up for his players. He builds great teams and, more likely than not he will return United to the summit of world football.

The Opportunity

Barcelona, Bayern Munich, and Real Madrid are undoubtedly three teams above United in the world, any other team is still debatable. Each of those teams is packed to the gills with talent, with two or even three players for each position. These teams, while prestigious will not guarantee any incoming players first team football. It is widely known that United are not looking to reinforce, as other top teams are, but are looking to find players that can gel into a cohesive first team. A few positions are in dire need of rejuvenating but almost every spot on the pitch is up for grabs. A player looking to move to a new team knows they have a great chance of coming into the team and getting regular football.

The Money

Football is a business now and many footballers are looking for the best business deal. Agents are constantly whispering in their ear to ensure they get a cut of the most lucrative deal for their client and in a profession as uncertain as football, players want to make hay while the sun shines. United have that money, and they also have a need to get themselves back on track meaning they are willing to part with considerable chunks of money to get the players they need. High salaries mixed with profitable bonuses are a major persuading factor in footballers agreeing to make moves.

Historical Evidence

United’s turbulent ‘post-Sir Alex Ferguson’ era has seen United fall onto uncertain times but, this hasn’t stopped them from attracting high-quality players. Angel Di Maria joined the team on the back of a seventh-placed finish, leaving a Champions League winning team. Zlatan Ibrahimovic had offers from a number of clubs and still chose United. The biggest evidence? Paul Pogba. Wanted by every team currently in existence (if you believe the media) he had plenty of options and still chose United. Whether it is for the money, the history or the opportunity, we can see that United can still attract high-quality players and there’s nothing to say that this won’t continue to happen.

So, while losing the Europa League would be nigh on disastrous for United’s season, it certainly wouldn’t greatly hinder Mourinho’s plans to bring in the players he wants and rebuild United into title contenders and European giants once again. Roll on Summer, let’s see some new faces!

Written by Marvyn Wilson


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