Failure to qualify for next season's Champions League will reportedly result in player salaries at Manchester United being cut by as much as 25 percent this summer.
The Mirror's James Nursey reported on Friday that a policy introduced in some players' contracts under Sir Alex Ferguson is now understood to be "standard across the board" for all in Louis van Gaal's squad since 2014.
A source close to the club was quoted, saying: “The club felt it was right players should be rewarded for reaching the top four but also share the financial repercussions if the team miss out.”
The Red Devils have added wage-cut clauses into all fresh contracts agreed since 2014, when United finished seventh in the Premier League following a dismal campaign under Van Gaal's predecessor, David Moyes.
Nursey added any chances of lucrative bonuses being inserted into deals would also be "off the agenda," aimed at reducing the potential costs of missing out on the cash flow Europe's premier tournament brings with it.
United currently sit fifth in the Premier League and are six points off fourth-placed Manchester City, having now failed to win in any of their last three outings across all competitions.
Van Gaal's side dropped to a 2-1 defeat at FC Midtjylland on Thursday evening in the first leg of their Europa League round-of-32 clash. James Robson of the Manchester Evening News insisted Europe's second-tier contest may be United's best hope of a Champions League spot next term:
It's a damning indictment of united's domestic woes that the europa league represents their best chance of champions league qualification— James Robson (@JamesRobsonMEN) February 18, 2016
The English giants will miss out on a substantial sum for failing to make it back to the Champions League, too, with the prize pot just for making the group stage rising to £10 million, per Nursey's report.
In contrast, teams competing in the group stage of this season's Europa League were awarded just €1.3 million (£1 million), according to the official UEFA website.
Some players may have joined the Van Gaal revolution under the impression United's struggles were temporary and that things would improve under the Dutchman.
Samuel Luckhurst of the MEN recently stated his belief the side have "regressed" back to how they were playing under Moyes:
Van Gaal saying top four 'will be very difficult' proves #mufc have regressed to Moyes level. Might not've had they changed manager sooner.— Samuel Luckhurst (@samuelluckhurst) February 13, 2016
The chances of the Red Devils grasping a top-four finish in the Premier League seem slim, and after failing to win in either of their last two domestic fixtures, the squad could be eyeing the prospect of a wage slash.
Playing for United alone would be inspiration enough for some, but the threat of seeing their salaries reduced by a quarter may also help to kick-start the campaigns of some squad stars.