After an impressive nineteen consecutive seasons playing in the Champions League, London giants Arsenal may finally fail to qualify for Europe’s elite competition after a disastrous campaign this season so far, with the club looking more likely to miss a top four finish.
While many have forewarned that Arsenal may suffer in terms of the transfer market without Champions League football, Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger argues the Gunners won’t be having such a problem at all.
As it stands, Arsenal are currently languishing in sixth place with 63 points, a daunting six points clear off of the top four with just four games left to play. This situation has made clear the fact that there is a possibility of the North London club missing out on Champions League football for the first time in nearly two decades.
And yet Wenger seems totally unfazed, who said in a recent press conference, “The weight of a Champions League place is less big than it was years ago. Financially, negotiations wise it will not have a huge impact.”
I think when #Wenger and Kroenke speak on the phone they only discuss Economics, intricacies of Hedge Fund and Arbitrage instead of football
— God Bless Arsenal (@Arsenalman2011) May 9, 2017
But the truth of the matter is, Champions League football is essential for Arsenal to be able to lure top players into the club, no matter how rich they are. They would simply need to look to their rivals Manchester United for proof.
Manchester United have had an embarrassment of riches thrown their way recently thanks to their aggressive marketing efforts but have not been able to translate this fiscal success to luring in players from their wishlist. They have already been rebuffed by top names like Bayern’s Thomas Muller and it is believed they are set to miss out on signing Atletico Madrid’s top marksman Antoine Griezmann come the summer.
#Wenger press conf today reminded me of final Houllier Liverpool conf before he departed. He objected to line of questioning re new players.
— Jon Spurling (@JonSpurling1) May 9, 2017
United are no small fry. They have their prestigious, trophy-laden history to back them up. And yet, just three years since Sir Alex Ferguson’s departure and the club’s inconsistent appearances in the Champions League, they have already started to show weakness in the transfer market, which is greatly reflected in their lack of success on the pitch in recent years.
Imagine if Arsenal are placed in the same situation. They have already developed a bad reputation of being a selling rather than a buying club, losing star players like Samir Nasri, Cesc Fabregas, Robin van Persie, among others, to rivals no less and have had a history of having difficulty replacing those players.
If they miss out on Champions League football next season, who knows what will happen to their current stars? It is worth noting that their leading midfielder Mesut Ozil and creative winger Alexis Sanchez have both been rumoured to be hesitant in signing new contracts with the club. Surely, it would be harder to tie them down to a longer deal if Arsenal are unable to qualify for Europe next year?
“[I’m] not really [worried] because we are in a strong financial position,” said Wenger.
Well, for his sake as well as his club, he should be.