The Premier League are discussing proposals by UEFA that could see six English clubs qualify for the Champions League.
Under UEFA’s plans to restructure European competition, 36 clubs would play in a new-look Champions League from 2024, with a new Europa Conference League tournament set to also launch next season below the Europa League.
The Telegraph report that, under the plans, qualification for the Champions League could be earned by clubs finishing below the top four via their UEFA co-efficient, which is a metric used for measuring historical performance.
English football would be given seven places in Europe, which would generally be divided into four in the Champions League, two in the Europa League and one in the new Europa Conference League.
Yet any club who finish between seventh and fifth may well be upgraded to the Champions League on the strength of their past performances in European competition, provided the number of qualifiers from England is capped at six.
That means, should Manchester United finish between fifth and seventh in the Premier League from 2024 onwards, they would currently be bumped up to the Champions League on the strength of their recent performances in Europe, provided that two clubs in a similar position do not finish fifth and sixth ahead of the Reds.
As it stands, United have the ninth-highest co-efficient in UEFA thanks to their performances over the last five seasons.
The club would need to maintain this sort of level to ensure qualification to the Champions League from 2024, provided they finish in the top seven in the Premier League.
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Manchester United smashed nine goals past Southampton on Tuesday night as they bounced back from disappointing results against Sheffield United and Arsenal in emphatic fashion.
The game was effectively over as a contest inside the first two minutes as Southampton were reduced to 10 men, but United still had to find the goals and they did exactly that, with Aaron Wan-Bissaka, Marcus Rashford, Edinson Cavani, Anthony Martial (two), Scott McTominay, Bruno Fernandes and Daniel James all getting on the scoresheet.
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It is currently unclear what sort of cut-off point a club would need to achieve in the co-efficient rankings to be assured of Champions League football.
Vacated spots in other competitions will be taken by other clubs in Europe and not from the Premier League, and it means up to six clubs from England could qualify for the competition, with one then going into the Europa League.
No decisions are said to have yet been made over the proposals.