Key Manchester United players are reportedly at risk of 25 percent wage cuts if they fail to qualify for the Champions League this season, as per clauses in their deals.
According to The Sun, contracts at the club are structured in a way that if there is a drop in revenue through a failure to reach the Champions League, wages will be reduced.
That has been the case this season for many big-name players after their disappointing Premier League campaign last year, although it didn’t effect new recruits such as Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Paul Pogba, as per the report.
Given that United currently sit in sixth place in the table after 22 games, three points adrift of the top four with the gap possibly stretched further depending on Arsenal’s result against Burnley on Sunday, that will be a concern in the back of the players’ minds.
Nevertheless, the priority remains not allowing the club to be absent from Europe’s top table for another season, and while Jose Mourinho’s side have put together an impressive unbeaten run in all competitions, they know they have to kick on in the next few months to get themselves in the mix.
In contrast, if United do finish in the top four, then the pay cuts will be scrapped, and so the players have incentives on and off the pitch to make it happen.
As noted in the report, United’s kit deal with Adidas will be reduced by 30 percent, around £22.5m, if they miss out on Champions League football again, and so ultimately their strategy is very sensible in the event that they don’t meet expectations in terms of holding the players accountable.
The hope for now from their perspective will be that they are able to push on and make this point irrelevant, but such is the competition at the top of the Premier League, it can’t be ruled out at this stage.