Manchester United do not believe the Premier League will have the nerve to ban them and fellow rebel European Super League clubs.

United view the Premier League's threat to expel those teams who have formed the breakaway ESL as a hollow one that is ultimately not legally enforceable.

The belief at United, Manchester City, Liverpool, Chelsea, Arsenal and Tottenham – six of the 12 founding members of the ESL - is that the Premier League could not survive without its biggest clubs.

“What would the Premier League look like without those six clubs next season?” said once ESL source when asked about the Premier League's threat to ban clubs who take part in the breakaway league.

Ed Woodward has overseen big changes at Manchester United
Manchester United are confident they won't be banned by the Premier League

That is why the six English clubs are confident they can push ahead with the ESL – which could be launched as early as next season – and still retain their domestic interest in the Premier League.

The 12 clubs who have founded the ESL have taken legal advice and are confident there is no basis in EU law for banning a new competition such as the ESL.

The rebel group were warned in a joint statement from groups including the Premier League, FA and UEFA that sanctions, including being banned from all domestic and European competitions, would be imposed on the ESL clubs.

But such is the belief in their own power and standing within European football, in particular their commercial pull in terms of TV rights, that any attempt to ban them from domestic competition, such as the Premier League, would ultimately fail.

United are one of six English clubs who are founding members of the ESL

United's stance is that the ESL will be a significant upgrade on the current Champions League format, pitting the biggest teams with the best players against each other on a regular basis.

The view of those clubs who have formed the ESL is that the Champions League does not get interesting until the big sides meet in the latter stages, particularly with regard to TV audience numbers, which is something they aim to address with the formation of the elite league.

The ESL will also, it is claimed by those clubs behind it, create a more sustainable financial model for the European football pyramid, which will see larger solidarity payments for the rest of the game.

The founding members of the ESL are promising £10billion in solidarity payments, which is understood to be around three times more than the amount generated by the current Champions League format.

While United and other clubs involved in the ESL acknowledge the depth of feeling towards the seismic change in European football, there is a confidence it will be accepted after the initial reaction, just as it was with the launch of the Premier League in 1992 and the restructuring of the Champions League.

Those clubs involved in the ESL insist it is not a breakaway league, as its midweek format allows for domestic league and cup competitions to continue at weekends.