As if Manchester United needed any extra incentive to ensure that they qualify for European football next season, reports this week have suggested that they face missing out on a lavish sum if they fail to reach that particular target.
According to the Daily Star, missing out on Europe's elite club competitions would have severe financial implications for the reigning Premier League champions as they could miss out on a staggering £50 million.
The publication suggests that the club traditionally budgets on reaching the quarter-finals of the Champions League and a failure to make the tournament would see Manchester United miss out on £35 million in prize money, bonuses and TV pool share, £10 million in match day earnings and £5 million in merit money.
Qualification for the Europa League, whilst perhaps considered as somewhat of an insult to a club of United's stature, would not be quite as disastrous, but the club would still stand to miss out on around £32 million.
Even with an inevitably difficult transition in store as David Moyes was enticed from Everton in order to fill the notable void left by the departure of the iconic Sir Alex Ferguson, many United fans would surely have dismissed any summer claims that the club could feasibly miss out on qualification for Europe.
However, a wildly inconsistent start to the 2013/14 campaign has seen that become a very real possibility, with Moyes' men suffering consecutive league defeats at Old Trafford for the first time in a decade last week.
Last Wednesday's defeat to Roberto Martinez' Everton - which came courtesy of a late goal from Costa Rica international - was followed by a 1-0 defeat to Newcastle on Saturday and United now find themselves ninth in the Premier League, 13 points adrift of leaders Arsenal and seven points behind rivals Manchester City in fourth.
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