Manchester United’s absence from the Champions League and their early departure from the Capital One Cup this season has led the club to explore the possibility of playing lucrative mid-week friendlies in the Middle East.
This is according to a report from The Guardian, who claim that Manchester United are considering using this unprecedented amount of free time to make up for the loss in revenue that has come as a result of missing out on European football.
It has been calculated that Manchester United can expect a 10 percent revenue dip having finished outside of the Premier League’s top four last season, but there could be remunerative opportunities to take the club overseas.
Only one of their 13 remaining fixtures in 2014 takes place on either a Tuesday or Wednesday, meaning there are significant holes in the club’s schedule. The decision could now be taken for Louis van Gaal and his players to escape for warmer climes in the coming months, and the club are looking to secure money-spinning contracts for potential friendly encounters.
“That’s something we continue to look at, as always making sure that the preparations we do on the pitch come first,” said Richard Arnold, the club’s managing director .
“For many of our [pre-season] international tours, there is a plan to ensure we get that team building that goes together with getting the team all together in one place.
"That’s something that’s being looked at with regards to the future with Louis [van Gaal].”
Van Gaal concerns
Van Gaal was an outspoken critic of Manchester United’s extensive summer tour of the USA, and had indicated that there will be no repeat of this when he takes control of the pre-season planning.
It would seem, then, that Van Gaal would be adverse to the idea of travelling significant distances for these prospective friendly encounters, although it could be that a compromise is reached if the manager is satisfied with the scheduling.
While Van Gaal may have been unhappy with the rigours of pre-season, the American tour was a resounding success for Manchester United commercially, with the club having made £8 million for around three week’s work.
Their global appeal was highlighted by the enormous attendances for their friendly encounters, with over 100,000 supporters attending the encounter with Real Madrid in Ann Arbor, Michigan.