Manchester United enter this unexpected break from football in fifth position in the Premier League.
The club are trying to qualify for next season’s Champions League, and now this has been plunged into uncertainty.
Here are three ways United qualify…
- The league table is paused, and this season’s results are permitted to stand. Manchester City would be banned by UEFA and fifth place takes the spot on merit.
- The season continues and United overtake Chelsea and secure fourth or even third spot.
- The season continues and United win the Europa League and take the prize of Champions League qualification.
Here are four ways United do not qualify…
- The league is voided and all results reset to the beginning of the 2019/20 season, putting United back in the Europa League.
- The league continues and United fail to finish in the top five or win the Europa League.
- League tables are taken on current results and Manchester City win an appeal or defer their UEFA ban.
- Sheffield United mount an appeal based on being just two points behind Manchester United with a game in hand. They could be permitted to play the match to even up the games played column, and overtake us into fifth.
So what will happen?
We can’t give a prediction, and can simply state it will be one of these seven scenarios.
There are more ways United can not qualify than can, and our case is not helped by not being in the top four, or having been in the competition last season.
If football resumes in April and May we clearly have a better chance of qualifying than simply hoping City’s Champions League ban is upheld.
Can we sign players without it?
Missing out would mean United go two years in a row without Champions League football.
The chase for top targets is defined by two areas, 1) Can we attract them, and 2) Can we afford them?
The bigger challenge is financially, especially if Paul Pogba is not sold.
Top transfer target Jadon Sancho would want Champions League football, but he may look on United’s situation more sympathetically based on the way this season ended, if it is just cut short now.
United are playing like one of the top teams in England and were likely on course to finish in the top four if we kept it up. This might be enough to convince him to buy in.
- Manchester United should offer Sanchez for Ighalo and solve two problems
- Ramazani may have easier route to Manchester United first-team than Mejbri
- Both Odion Ighalo’s clubs will benefit if Manchester United loan is extended
- David Brooks would be a smart Sancho alternative for Manchester United this summer
- If Manchester United have ruled out permanent Ighalo move, they must focus on Dembele