Manchester United Will Still Appeal to New Signings Without the Champions League

Paul Ansorge@@utdrantcastFeatured Columnist IVFebruary 16, 2017

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - JANUARY 28:  General View of the statues of Denis Law, George Best and Bobby Charlton prior to the Barclays Premier League match between Manchester United and Cardiff City at Old Trafford on January 28, 2014 in Manchester, England.  (Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images)
Michael Regan/Getty Images

Given that Manchester United seem unlikely to qualify for next season's Champions League, David Moyes' attempts to bring new signings to the club may well face an additional layer of challenge.

However, whilst the potential lack of top level European competition is certainly an obstacle for United's management, it may not be a deal-breaker for the elite level players United will be hoping to attract. There are a number of reasons why playing at Manchester United will still have a tremendous appeal.


The Quality of United's players

Debate has raged, at games, in pubs, on social media and on forums as United's season has deteriorated. How much of this is the manager's fault and how much of it indicates a paucity of talent in the squad?

Even if you stand firmly in the camp who believe the latter is the greater issue, it is hard to deny that there are some absolutely wonderful footballers at Manchester United.

"That's a boss salary, that!"
"That's a boss salary, that!"Sang Tan/Associated Press

With The Sun's Charlie Wyett reporting Sunday that Wayne's Rooney's new contract is signed, any players coming into United's squad will have the chance to ply their trade alongside him, Juan Mata, and barring summer catastrophes, Robin van Persie and Adnan Januzaj.

It is a "Who's Who" (and "Who is Going to Be") of attacking talent. It is easy to imagine the appeal of coming to play with them.


There Has Only Been One Bad Season

United's domestic collapse has been precipitous, but it is only one season.

Whilst David Moyes' tenure has badly lacked for reasons for optimism, (although I did my best to find some) the medium and long-term picture is brighter. New signings will know that the executives at Manchester United will be focused on building a successful side. Either David Moyes will begin to get things right, or he will be replaced.

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - JANUARY 11:  View of the Sir Alex Ferguson statue prior to the Barclays Premier League match between Manchester United and Swansea City at Old Trafford on January 11, 2014 in Manchester, England.  (Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Imag
Shaun Botterill/Getty Images

If United fail to get Champions League football for a second season in a row, the difficulty will increase, but for now there is a very convenient way to spin the narrative of United's failure in 2013/14. The story can be told of a club in transition, facing an unprecedented upheaval given the departure of modern football's most iconic manager.

The reality of it is that the story is more complex than that, but given the infrastructure in place at Old Trafford, it will be easy to sell the idea of a club built for success, who have hit a pothole but will change the tire and be back on the road in no time.


The Chance to be a Hero

Manchester United are crying out for a hero or two. Whilst many in the squad have fulfilled that function in years past, this season has seen the Stretford End, mostly, having to hold out.

"Use the force, Adnan"
"Use the force, Adnan"Stu Forster/Getty Images

Whilst Januzaj has taken on the early Luke Skywalker hero-in-waiting role, there have been no Han Solos, no one ready to take the fight to the Empire just yet. (Incidentally, this analogy falls apart as soon as you realise that, technically, if Star Wars analogies are to be made, United would probably be the Empire.)

If United are to sign an intrepid, skillful, dynamic box-to-box central midfielder, that player would not have to wait very long before being granted hero status. The team has been crying out for new leaders for a long time and if one comes along he will be adored.



This is football. Money will be a factor.

Manchester United might not be the team in town with the most disposable income but given the implications of UEFA's Financial Fair Play rules, United's ability to be financially competitive in attracting new talent should be significant.

"Kerching!"Jon Super/Associated Press

In an interview in the United We Stand fanzine (h/t to Andy Mitten of The National), discussing the signings of top level players, United's Chief Executive, Ed Woodward said "We won't lose on price". This will be vitally important in the summer ahead.

It is not just romance which suggests that United are still a big draw. There are practical reasons too.


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