Manchester United remain the powerhouse of English football – off the field at least anyway. No team can match the commercial success of the Red Devils, even if the club have not managed to enjoy success in the Premier League and Champions League since the retirement of Sir Alex Ferguson in 2013.

The Scot not only built a formidable unit on the pitch, driving his United beyond Liverpool’s title record with 20 top-flight crowns, but their success turned the team into a franchise juggernaut across the globe worth up $4.12b. The growth of the Premier League and Champions League aided their development, but there’s no doubt without the triumphs on the field, United would be closer to the chasing pack in England amongst Liverpool, Chelsea and Arsenal.

However, an issue on the horizon should the club continue to struggle on the field. United sell more shirts than any other team in the Premier League due to their standing appeal on the world stage. Continued failure and increased competition could see them drop back in the pecking order as a study by has discovered that only 10% of supporters intend to purchase the Red Devils’ replica shirt this season.

There are a number of factors to be considered in that fact, the first being the lack of notoriety among the summer signings. Fred was the major deal over the summer, signing from Shakhtar Donetsk, and although he impressed during his time there, it does not hold the same gravitas as securing a move for Gareth Bale or an even a return transfer for Cristiano Ronaldo.