Manchester United plan to arrange lucrative friendlies in the United States, Middle East and India if they fail to gain European football next season, according to reports.
Despite their recent troubles, the Red Devils remain guaranteed money makers across the globe. The club would need permission from the FA to arrange exhibition matches during weeks that are scheduled for Champions League and Europa League fixtures, as reported by Mark Ogden of The Telegraph:
With Manchester United uncertain of playing in Europe next season, senior figures at Old Trafford are considering the possibility of arranging money-spinning fixtures in the Middle East, United States and possibly India in order to compensate for the financial shortfall of missing out on Champions League or Europa League participation.
[...] But with the FA forced to comply with regulations laid down by Fifa and Uefa, United would not be able to play non-competitive fixtures unless sanctioned by the domestic governing body.
United are set to miss out on up to £70 million by failing to qualify for next season's Champions League, as detailed by ESPN. Considering David Moyes is under huge pressure to quickly build a title-winning team, he needs to ensure the club are maximising other opportunities to make cash during their absence from the continent's most prestigious competition.
Indeed, United's best chance of securing a place in next year's tournament is by winning the current edition. Currently drawing 1-1 with Bayern Munich after the quarter-final first leg, this feat looks rather unlikely when considering United have lost to the likes of West Brom, Swansea and Sunderland throughout the year.
Old Trafford officials are also hoping to secure a new kit deal with Nike, which could land the club £100 million per year, according to Jason Burt of The Telegraph. This would certainly help overcome the major funds lost due to their likely absence from the Champions League, giving United a legitimate stream of spending money for the future.
A number of recently signed-up sponsors and commercial partners have reportedly let it be known to the club that they are less than enthused with now being linked to failure, especially since they specifically came on board because of the reputation for extreme success.
United managed to overturn the deficit in the second game, but the monetary appeal of the side is likely to disappear if the team is absent from European matters for too long.
Organising friendlies away from England is sure to be a real commitment. United must focus on a return to the Premier League's top four next campaign to ensure no long-term damage to the club's finances. A long-haul midweek trip is unlikely to improve their chances of catching up with Liverpool, Manchester City, Chelsea and Arsenal.
This is perhaps a case of player well-being vs. financial gain. Should United's reported wish be granted and they are allowed to travel during the season, many squad members will be anxious of picking up unnecessary injuries.
Although plenty needs to happen for United to embark on their quest, this is not a decision the board should take lightly just to generate funds.