Former Liverpool managing director Christian Purslow has warned Manchester United "may never get back" in the Champions League if they fail to qualify across the next two seasons.
The Red Devils are unlikely to participate in elite European football next year and currently remain 11 points away from fourth.
Purslow believes United can afford to miss out on Champions League television rights for one season, but not when BT Sport's new deal comes in for the 2015-16 campaign, as reported by John Drayton of the Daily Mail:
The figure is about £30million if you get into the Champions League. Next year when that BT Sport deal kicks in, that figure will probably double.
Look at the team who that will most effect, Manchester United, they don't look like they're going to be there this year, but it gives (David) Moyes and (Ed) Woodward a year to get their act together.
One year, they can live with a £30million disadvantage for one season, in another year if they miss out, they may never get back.
Gary Neville, former United right-back and current Sky Sports pundit, believes Purslow's suggestion is misguided, as highlighted by his Twitter exchange with Tony Barrett of The Times:
@GNev2 You don't know the half of it.— Tony Barrett (@TonyBarretTimes) February 20, 2014
While it seems a tad premature to suggest United's run of poor form could seem them excluded from the Champions League forever, there's no doubt the club will be forced to deal with huge financial readjustment if they miss out.
ESPN suggests the club will fail to gain "up to" £70 million in television rights and prize money each season they don't appear in the mega-bucks competition. Despite this prospect, United claim their income has risen from £363 million to £420 million across the last financial year.
Will Liverpool win the Premier League this year?
Purslow, who believes Liverpool "can win the Premier League" this season after impressive Anfield wins over Arsenal and Everton, per Drayton's report, experienced a similar downfall at the Merseyside club at the end of Rafa Benitez's era and into Roy Hodgson's tenure.
Liverpool's expectations have lowered since then, an idea United fans may have to entertain in the future. David Moyes has watched his team win just one of their last six Premier League games, per WhoScored.com, all but ending their chance of Champions League football next season.
The club are also out of the Capital One Cup and FA Cup, but have a European Round of 16 tie against Olympiacos to overcome.
It seems United's best chance of qualifying for next year's Champions League is to win the competition this season—an unlikely feat right now.