Manchester United are currently focusing on regaining their Top 4 status, but if they manage to achieve it they may find themselves shunted down the pecking order on their return to Champions League football.
ESPN has reported that Manchester United could drop down the rankings for Champions League seeding if they do indeed manage to qualify for next season’s competition. They currently sit 4th in the Premier League table after a challenging start to the season, and United fans will expect their heroes to maintain this position at least, especially after the astronomical sums invested in the squad over the summer.
Last season’s horror show has left its mark however, and by not qualifying for this year’s Champions League they have to watch as other clubs leapfrog them in the rankings. They started this season placed 6th but have already been overtaken by Spanish Champions Atletico Madrid.
Premier League rivals Arsenal, currently in 10th position will pass them should they emerge from their group to qualify for the knock out stages. Bundesliga duo Schalke and Borussia Dortmund as well as Portuguese side Porto also have a good chance of overtaking the Red Devils.
Ligue 1 outfit Paris Saint Germain could knock them further down the pecking order although they would have to get to the semi finals of this season’s Champions League to do so.
To be top seeds for the Champions League group stage a club has to be one of the top eight in the UEFA coefficient table, clubs outside this could still be top seeds should some of top eight teams fail to qualify for the competition. A number of clubs are lobbying for a change in the way sides across Europe are ranked; one proposal, backed by Manchester City, involves seeding the holders plus the champions from the top 7 rated European leagues.
Clearly this idea won’t attract much support from Europe’s heavyweights who have amassed a huge amount of points over the years and are always seeded irrespective of their domestic form.
Dan O’Mahony, Pundit Arena.