Manchester United are on the verge of once again becoming world football’s biggest earners by overtaking Real Madrid at the helm.

According to Deloitte, who produce the Football Money League, there is a “strong possibility” that the Red Devils could overtake current leaders Real Madrid and second place Barcelona in next years’ edition.

The 20-times English champions are currently third in the league after generating €519.5million in revenue during 2014/15 whilst Madrid have once again claimed the top spot for the 11th consecutive year with €577million, whilst Barcelona generated €560.8million.

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United first topped the league in 1998 after generating an overall revenue of £87.9million but have failed in managing to usurp Real Madrid of their top spot in recent years. However, Deloitte partner and the report’s author, Dan Jones, believes that Manchester United are closer than ever to reclaiming the number one spot:

You can be successful off the pitch even if you aren’t successful on it for a time. The reason Manchester United is able to be so commercially successful is because they had an incredible 20-year run of on-field success. I am not surprised to see Manchester United up there and challenging to reclaim that number one spot they lost 11 years ago. But I don’t think that is a long-term sustainable position if they don’t get more things going for them on the pitch.

The Red Devils had previously been placed second in the league but, after failing to earn European football under David Moyes whilst also being less than impressive in Europe under current manager Louis Van Gaal, saw their profile drop to third place following a year-on-year drop in revenue.

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But had it not been for the smart investment work by executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward to secure new business ventures including a record-breaking £75million-a-year kit sponsorship deal with Adidas, then the club may have suffered even more.

With a new £5.1billion television rights deal on the horizon for the Premier League, starting in the 2016/17 season, the pressure on European teams to contend with English clubs is starting to increase.

The representation of English football clubs in the league has continued to grow in recent years as West Ham newly joined the league in 20th place this season whilst five English clubs make up the top 10 and a total of nine clubs make the top 20.