Arsenal will finish outside of top four next season

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When Arsenal captain Mikel Arteta lifted the FA Cup after a 3-2 win over Hull in May, the despondence surrounding Arsene Wenger dissipated.

The start of a new era, they said. A platform on which to build future successes.

But as we grow ever closer to the start of the new Premier League season, Wenger has once again come in for criticism, pictured lounging around on Brazilian beaches whilst his rival managers secure lucrative deals in the summer transfer market.

It is this which could prove costly and may see the Gunners fail to qualify for the Champions League next season for the first time since the tournaments' inception.

Additions needed

There's no doubt that Wenger's squad needs work.

Olivier Giroud looked lonely and devoid of ideas last campaign without a recognised striker as a partner, and the depature of Bacary Sagna leaves them desperately short at the back.

There are still concerns over the continued fitness issues surrounding Jack Wilshere and record-signing Mesut Ozil seemed to go through the motions far too often last season. The lack of world-class players around him must worry him deeply.

But while Louis van Gaal is overseeing Manchester United's summer rebuild with the signings of Luke Shaw and Ander Herrera despite still being in charge of Holland and Jose Mourinho sits at home sipping a rich glass of red knowing that he has added two quality players to his squad - Cesc Fabregas and Diego Costa - Wenger is out in Brazil enjoying the best World Cup in history.

Of course he is no doubt on a scouting mission as well as a footballing getaway, but the lack of activity through the doors at the Emirates must be of great concern to a set of fans that have seen their side win only one trophy in nine years.

Rivals strengthening

Even Premier League champions Manchester City have made some noise in the transfer market, with the capture of Fernando from Porto.

Liverpool may bet set to lose Luis Suarez but Rodgers has often made astute yet successful purchases - Iago Aspas aside - and any money gained from the deal added to the potential arrival of Alexis Sanchez ensures the Reds will again be competitive next season.

Wenger has too often in the past lagged far behind when the busy flurry of activity over the summer commences.

Related articles

- Arsenal prepare Schneiderlin bid 

- Arsenal eye move for Pablo Armero

Is Wenger targeting the right players?

And the players he is targeting currently don't seem to be in the same league as that of his rivals.

Admittedly Morgan Schneiderlin was impressive for Southampton but Pablo Armero - despite having a good world cup with Colombia - has already proven his ineptitude at Premier League level with a string of poor performances for West Ham last season.

If Arsenal are to once again finish in the Premier League's top four, Wenger is going to have to start making waves in the transfer market rather than in the ocean at Copacabana beach.

But at the moment, that appears as unlikely and it could prove costly next May.

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