Ex-England star - No Champions League football? No problem for Man United

Martin Keown doesn't think a non-top four finish will make much of a difference to Manchester United

Former Arsenal and England defender Martin Keown doesn’t think Manchester United will have any trouble signing superstar players this summer, regardless of whether they secure Champions League football.

United’s chances of signing the likes of Marco Reus, Ilkay Gundogan and other high profile targets have been questioned as there’s a very good chance that David Moyes’ men may not finish in the top four of the Premier League.

However, Keown revealed on his weekly Daily Mail question and answer session that he doesn’t see it as a problem.

“Everything that Manchester United does is first class. They have a fantastic arena to play football in, the training ground, the area, the history of the club, everything is all still a huge attraction – But when you’re talking about making huge player investments in the summer then surely they will only be out of the Champions League places for a short while.”

The financial side of not getting into the Champions League isn’t something which would affect United in the same way as other clubs.

United are one of the few sides around the world with widespread commercial connections across several continents, which create a lot of revenue in the form of advertising and sponsorship.

They can take the hit of missing out on the top four and similarly to Liverpool, any hiatus out of the Champions League shouldn’t be massive.

“The problem would be if they were up against a Barcelona or a Real Madrid when bidding for a player, then the lack of Champions League football might become a bit of an issue,” added Keown.

That has to be the only instance where United could struggle to sign someone like Reus, Gundogan or Toni Kroos.

The history and the size of the club is undoubted but several top professional players in the contemporary game have egos and they like to flaunt those egos on the biggest stage and that means the Champions League.

United as a club and what they can offer a player in terms of finance and exposure won’t change but they can’t do anything if a target has an instant desire to play in Europe’s biggest club tournament immediately.

Juan Mata is a very good example. The Spaniard would have fully acknowledged that there was a good chance United wouldn’t finish fourth when he joined from Chelsea last month yet he committed to the move.

Which United fan would argue against a few more signings of his calibre?

image: © Jon Candy

Register for MANCHESTER UNITED team updates

Register for HITC Sport - Daily Dispatch