Things must be getting pretty tense in the Manchester United boardroom.
Such was the faith placed in Jose Mourinho upon his appointment that he was given an enormous transfer kitty to spend in the summer, but it appears his shortcomings could cost United big time.
After the 1-1 draw with West Ham on Sunday – coupled with Arsenal’s 3-1 win over Bournemouth – Mourinho’s men are eight points behind the Gunners, who sit in fourth place.
Not only will it infuriate the Portuguese to toil so far below his old nemesis Arsene Wenger, the club may well be putting pressure on him soon, as the financial casualty of missing out on the Champions League again is going to be huge.
The Daily Mail have worked out that United could be set back by £40million if they fail to qualify, and there could be even worse penalties incurred as a result of their sponsorship deal with Adidas.
The sportswear brand have always stipulated that if the Red Devils went two successive seasons without Champions League football, they would cut their kit deal by £22.5million – around 30%.
Commercially, therefore, as well as in football terms, the fact that United have made their worst start to the season in 27 years, is disastrous.
It remains to be seen whether things improve, but even if officials would like to give Mourinho more time to build, they’re going to have to take these kind of results off the pitch into account.