Manchester United should be in the Champions League rather than the likes of Leicester City, so thinks American sports executive Charlie Stillitano, who held talks with chief executives of United, Arsenal, Chelsea, Manchester City and Liverpool earlier this week.
Those talks led to the big English Premier League clubs having to deny discussing a possible breakaway European league, where all of them would be guaranteed a place, no matter what placing in the Premier League.
However, it is clear clubs like Manchester United, Chelsea and Liverpool – all of whom are under threat of missing out on the Champions League this season – feel they should be playing in Europe's elite competition every year; top four place in the Premier League or not.
"What would Manchester United argue -- did we create soccer or did Leicester create [it]?" Stillitano told Sirius XM radio in the US. "Let's call it the money pot created by soccer and the fandom around the world.
"Who has had more of an integral role, Manchester United or Leicester? It's a wonderful, wonderful story -- but you could see it from Manchester United's point of view, too."
Leicester's run in the Premier League this season, where they lie top and are the favourites to win the title has been seen as a bit of a fairytale. While that is going a little overboard – some of the "professionalism" shown by Leicester has been far from eyecatching – there is little doubt that what makes the Premier League so exciting is that any team can beat any team on any given day.
You cannot say for a certainty that a Manchester United, Arsenal or Chelsea will win the Premier League title, like you would be able to with a Bayern Munich or a PSG or a Barcelona. While Stillitano, the head of Relevant Sports, who run the popular preseason tournament the International Champions Cup, understands the beauty of the Premier League and the relegation and promotion system that exists in Europe, he also feels there are certain perks in allowing some of the bigger clubs a direct entry into the elite competitions.
"Maybe that is absolutely spectacular unless you are a Manchester United fan, Liverpool fan ... or a Chelsea fan," Stillitano added on Leicester and Tottenham qualifying for the Champions League at the expense of the higher profile clubs. "I guess they don't have a birthright to be in it every year but it's the age-old argument -- US sports franchises versus what they have in Europe.
"There are wonderful, wonderful, wonderful elements to relegation and promotion and there are good arguments for a closed system."
Stillitano believes the Champions League, in its present format, is not the greatest in terms of "I want to see every match." For every Barcelona vs Arsenal game, there is a PSV vs Gent, which makes the Champions League, in its present format, a little less exciting, with history, according to the administrator, holding the tournament back.
"I could make a lot more money, I can be a lot more visible, I can help my sponsors out but right now I am locked into doing certain things that are really historic," Stillitano, who admitted the clubs, in the meeting on Tuesday, also discussed "restructuring of the Champions League" added.
"This is going to sound arrogant and it's the furthest thing from it ... but suddenly when you see the teams we have this summer in the ICC [International Champions Cup] you are going to shake your head and say, 'Isn't that the Champions League?' No, the Champions League is PSV and Gent."