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Erik ten Hag fears £85m black hole at Man Utd with no Champions League

Erik ten Hag - Erik ten Hag fears £85m black hole at Man Utd with no Champions League
The spotlight will be on Erik ten Hag if the Dutchman fails to guide United into the Champions League - Getty Images /Ryan Hiscott

Erik ten Hag admits that the potential £85 million hole left by Manchester United’s failure to qualify for the Champions League will impact summer team-building.

The Premier League’s refreshed emphasis on its profit and sustainability regulations has already been felt across the game.

And Ten Hag has admitted the new version of FFP rules have already prevented him from signing a desperately needed striker in the January transfer window.

Now, with hopes of a top-four finish receding and even a place in the Europa League or Europa Conference League far from guaranteed, Ten Hag knows United’s European destination next season will impact his spending power.

“It’s very important to play Champions League, that is clear, we don’t have to discuss this,” said the United manager.

“What exactly is the impact, that is what in this moment I don’t know.

“You have more financial power when you achieve the Champions League and that is our target, absolutely.”

Unlikely as it may have seemed a few weeks ago, before a run that has brought 10 points out of the past 15 available in the league, Champions League football next season is not completely out of the question.

Victory at Aston Villa on Sunday afternoon would lift United to within five points of Unai Emery’s side, with 14 games remaining. But it remains a tall order, with Spurs standing between the two clubs at present.

Instead, United are more likely to qualify for the lesser of the two European competitions, and take the financial “hit” that goes with it.

Manchester United celebrate
Manchester United came from 2-0 down to beat Aston Villa 3-2 on Boxing Day, another result like that would come in handy for Ten Hag's side - AFP/Oli Scarff

English teams made an average of £85 million from participation in the Champions League last season, compared with £24.7 million in the Europa League and £18 million in the Conference League.

But the Champions League’s complicated payment structures offers clubs multiple revenue streams, with prize money, appearance money and television money all feeding into the overall pot.

Estimates put the sum made by neighbours City for winning the Champions League last season at around £108 million – an indication of the riches United will be missing out on if they end this season out of the competition for the third time in eight years.

The potential lack of firepower at ten Hag’s disposal this summer would place added emphasis on his group of young players whose development has been one of the bright points of a so-far disappointing campaign.

Midfielder Kobbie Mainoo, 18, has played at a level way beyond his years in recent weeks and is expected to start alongside Casemiro at Villa Park, with Ten Hag praising the Brazilian veteran for the influence he has had on the teenager.

Kobbie Mainoo
Kobbie Mainoo has impressed since breaking into the first team - Getty Images/Matthew Peters

“He gives you calmness and composure on the ball, he gives you options, he sees the critical pass, so he is always a step ahead of his opponent to break lines,” said Ten Hag.

“So he is a very important player for our game and we’re happy he’s back.

“And Kobbie Mainoo, he can learn a lot from it and that togetherness, absolutely there is that bond [between them].

“Kobbie is very coachable, Casemiro has so much experience and Kobbie will learn a lot from him and that can accelerate his development. When they play together I think they can take benefit from each other.

“Casemiro takes that responsibility, he takes it to him, he is talking to him, I see it in the dressing room, I see it on the pitch in games, I see it in training.

“Of course he looking at his own game but he’s trying to help and support Kobbie.”

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