Go down and it’s difficult to see the likes of Moussa Sissoko – who already believes himself a Champions League player – returning for a campaign of Championship football.
United’s refusal to publicly grapple with the possibility of relegation – the Fans Forum saw them re-assert their confidence at staying up – is probably just as much a desperate desire not to have to deal with what would be a very messy fall-out.
But even if they stay up, Daryl Janmaat’s future at St James’ Park is going to be right at the top of the St James’ Park agenda.
The Holland international has played two seasons on Tyneside and is looking to move up a level. United had hoped a season of progression would enable them to keep hold of the likes of Janmaat, Sissoko and Ayoze Perez but they’ll be vulnerable in the close season.
In Janmaat’s case there has been interest from the Premier League and abroad. Arsenal and Liverpool have dispatched scouts to watch United recently and overseas Champions League clubs have an interest in the right-back.
Newcastle say they are “difficult sellers” but the issue hasn’t been forced as it might be this summer. Janmaat has four years of a six-year contract still to run but it might be a bit more complicated than that.
The problem with having a squad of talented players that under-performs is that you’re vulnerable to the best being picked off. Georginio Wijnaldum is another who might find himself with alternatives in the summer. United need to show their ability to progress this summer.