Shay Given feels securing a UEFA Champions League spot this season would signal a huge statement of intent for Manchester City.
After missing out on a fourth-placed Premier League finish to Tottenham last term, the same two clubs look likely to battle it out again this year for the all-important spot.
Goalkeeper Given, who has spent most of the season on the bench having lost the No.1 jersey to England international Joe Hart, feels qualifying for the Champions League would fire a warning to Europe's elite that City have arrived.
"It would be a huge statement to other European clubs," Given told Abu Dhabi-based newspaper The National.
"It would show we are going to be around for a long time and that we are going to be the team to watch over the coming years.
"The club would be able to attract more players in the summer and keep some of the ones we already have happy.
"Everyone wants to play in the Champions League. It would have been fantasy stuff to the fans a few years ago to think City might have teams like Barcelona and Real Madrid at Eastlands. Now there is a realistic chance of it happening."
City have claimed just two wins from their last seven league games and suffered a 2-0 defeat at Chelsea on Sunday to all but put an end to their title ambitions.
Given admits a top-four finish is now their primary target, adding: "We started the season wanting to win the league, you've got to aim high.
"It looks like we're going to fall a bit short of that. The next best thing is to get in the Champions League. Nobody wants to finish fourth, they want to finish at the top.
"But as the season has progressed we've dropped too many points and it looks as though the most realistic chance is the Champions League."