Football News

“Really big damage” – Mikel Arteta fears transfer implications of Arsenal struggles

By Ben Green

Published: 14:30, 2 March 2020

Mikel Arteta admits the financial ramifications of missing out of Champions League football for a fourth successive year could seriously hamper Arsenal’s transfer prospects this summer.

The Gunners suffered a shock defeat to Olympiacos in the Europa League round-of-32 last week and face a real possibility of missing out on continental football next term, owing to their current standing in the Premier League table.

What will Arsenal’s transfer stance be this summer? Five things to know…

  • Arsenal have been eliminated from the Europa League and currently sit 10th in the Premier League table.
  • The Gunners recorded an annual deficit last year for the first time since 2002.
  • Players like Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Bukayo Saka will enter the last year of their respective contracts this summer.
  • Arteta believes it would be a “no-brainer” that Arsenal will struggle to attract the very best if they fail to qualify for the Champions League yet again.
  • They are currently eight points behind fourth-place Chelsea with only 11 games remaining.

Therefore, Arsenal have now missed out on a backdoor route to Champions League football, meaning their strongest avenue to European football may very well come in the guise of winning the FA Cup.

Victory in English football’s oldest cup competition would present a pathway to the Europa League, and Arteta will see his side travel down the A3 for a fifth-round contest against Portsmouth on Monday night.

But, even if Arsenal do succeed in bringing silverware back to north London and entering the Europa League for a fourth straight season, Arteta has conceded that missing out on Champions League football yet again will jeopardise the club’s pulling power in the market.

“The damage caused by the club not being in the Champions League for the third season is really big,” said Arteta.

“Financially the impact is enormous because the structure of this club is built to be in the Champions League and you can sustain that for one year or two, but then after you have to start making decisions.

“So, we will have to make decisions one way or the other depending on the scenario we find ourselves, whether we are in the Champions League, Europa League or nowhere near that. And we’ll have a very clear plan of what we want to do and depending where we are we have to act like this.

“It will be difficult but this is the situation we are in now. We’ve been in that situation because we haven’t performed as well as the other top four clubs have been doing.

“That’s the reality and we have to face that reality face to face and try to make the best decisions. We don’t have margin for error with those decisions so they have to be very thorough and clear processes of where we have to improve and how we are going to do that and then go forward with no excuses.”

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Arteta: Every player in the world wants to play Champions League

The Spaniard was under no illusions that missing out on the continent’s blue riband tournament would not only affect the lure of joining his side for prospective targets, but also impact his current player’s ambitions of remaining at the Emirates.

He added: “Every player in the world wants to play Champions League and if you talk about having this option on the table, players are in a much more open way to join this club or to renew their contract or to convince anybody because we want to be in that competition.”