• Plan to offset revenue lost for failure to qualify for Europe
• United claim a global fan base of more than 650m
Manchester United are poised to play a series of lucrative friendlies abroad next season to offset what could be a minimum £20m loss for failure to qualify for the Champions League and Europa League.
With United constantly offered multi-million-pound deals to play around the world in exhibition and testimonial games, the club hierarchy is confident of filling the financial void left by a dismal season, and has already started planning for the potential absence from European competition next term. David Moyes's side are in sixth, 11 points from a Champions League place.
With United having turned down a sizeable offer to play a friendly during their recent warm-weather break in Dubai, the prospective opposition could be against teams from the Middle East, China or America.
For reaching the Champions League last-16 last season United received £28.9m from Uefa, plus around £2m per home game from ticket sales. With the club having played four matches in that campaign at Old Trafford – three group games and the second last-16 leg – that means United earned nearly £35m from the competition.
United are working on a loss of around £20m for failure to play in either of Uefa's club competitions and believe playing friendlies overseas during the gap in their schedule will help recoup a sizeable proportion of this.
United played a testimonial in Saudi Arabia, in January 2008, for the former Wolverhampton Wanderers reserve team player Sami Al-Jaber. The team jetted out to the Middle East directly after a Premier League game against Reading on a Saturday for the friendly two days later in what was a 6,000-mile round trip.
While that exercise yielded the club around £1m, during the six intervening years the increase in social media and new pay-per-view models means they could expect to earn considerable sums from other friendlies, beyond any appearance money offered by the hosts.
United made last August's pre-season friendly with the Swedish side AIK available on pay-per-view for £5.95. With the club's huge global fan base, the earnings from matches sold in this way next year are potentially lucrative.
United will also have noted how Rio Ferdinand's testimonial against Sevilla later that month is thought to have been watched by a global audience of several million, who took in the game for free via BT Sport and the defender's own website.
Javier Hernández has moved to deny he criticised striker Robin van Persie following Tuesday evening's shock 2-0 Champions League defeat to Olympiakos.
This follows the Mexican posting an image of himself and Patrice Evra on Instagram <%http://instagram.com/ch14_instagram%> that said: "Without your team-mates you can't be somebody in football, always be thankful..."
While this had been interpreted as a dig at Van Persie, who after the loss had criticised some of team-mates for moving into his space, Hernandez said on Twitter the instagram post "had nothing to do" with the Dutchman.
He added: "Why do the press always take comments out of context? We are great team-mates working for the same goal – the team.
"And because the team isn't doing as well as we'd like, everyone just wants to make everything look like a bad thing!"