Lack of European football could be a blessing

Manchester United’s poor form this term means that for the first time in 20 years they will go into a season without the chance of winning a European trophy.

The first year after the departure of Sir Alex Ferguson was always going to be a tough one but nobody could have predicted just how much the team would struggle and once it was confirmed that a top four finish was off the agenda, it seemed inevitable that David Moyes would lose his job.

Despite a late season flourish under interim boss Ryan Giggs, the players couldn’t manage to break into the Europa League places and had to settle for the club’s worst final league position in the Premier League era.

It all means it looks set to be another dramatic summer at Old Trafford and whoever the new manager is will likely have a huge job on his hands with the squad currently looking in major need of replenishment.

Louis van Gaal is the man widely expected to take the reins and his name would certainly help offset some of the difficulties that might occur when attracting top players without the carrot of Champions League football.

Bundesliga stars Toni Kroos, Thomas Muller, Mats Hummels and Marco Reus are all believed to be high on his shopping list and even if he can’t seal his top targets, money will be there for the Dutchman to spend should he be appointed.

Without Europe, whoever the new coach is will have extra time to allow the squad to gel, while having a week off between matches would also keep the players fresh, a fact proved by Liverpool’s performances this season.

Not playing continental football may suggest the club is in decline but it could also improve United’s chances of establishing themselves as one of the Premier League’s major forces once more.