As the Premier League reaches its climax, Arsenal sit four points adrift of Spurs with nine games to play – although they have the comfort of a game in hand on the men from White Hart Lane. If Arsene Wenger’s troops were to fall short this term the implications could be huge.
Wenger and the Arsenal board continue to raise the hopes of the Emirates faithful by claiming there is a large chunk of cash to be invested on new recruits - but will this change if they are not competing in Europe’s most elite club competition? The immediate thought is yes.
It is open to debate how much Champions League football is actually worth to a club but whatever the figure it is a large one. For a club that prides itself on their bank balance rather than their trophy cabinet, losing out on such revenue could be catastrophic.
For Arsenal to absorb such a financial hit something has to give – and initial thoughts turn to playing personnel coming in and out the door. It could be a case of de-ja-vu for Gunners fans as the most likely cause of action would be to adopt a similar style of pre-season recruitment as seen in recent times – replacing quality with quantity whilst making a profit.
It is hard to imagine a world where the likes of Santi Cazorla, Jack Wilshere, and Theo Walcott will settle for anything less than the heights of Champions League football – even more so when there are potential employers who can provide that platform and increase their salary.
Europe’s finest would be queuing at Wenger’s door to enquire about the availability of his top performers and they have shown in the past they will do business for the right price – most recently allowing a certain Dutchman to join the ranks at old foes Manchester United.
Potential transfer targets would have to change too. Recent reports suggest Wenger is chasing 23-year-old versatile forward Stevan Jovetic of Fiorentina along with Barcelona’s David Villa. These are players who can play Champions League football with other suitors – Tottenham Hotspur perhaps? It would force Arsenal to focus on lower calibre players or concentrate on unearthing the next young footballing gem – something the Arsenal boss has done on so many occasions in the past.
The chance of Wenger and Arsenal parting ways seems to grow with every negative result and the Arsenal board should look no further than a man currently working miracles on Merseyside.
David Moyes is one of a select few who has enjoyed job security in the high pressure world of the Premier League – and it is for good reason he remains Everton’s manager after 11 years. He has propelled the Toffees from the depths of the English top flight to European challengers on a limited budget – something that would fit with the Arsenal model. The Scotsman even broke into the top four and tasted Champions League football for the first time in 2005.
Whatever happens in Arsenal's future remains to be seen but one thing for sure is they desperately need to clinch that vital fourth place by May 19. If they miss out they could be waiting a very long time to clear the cobwebs from that empty trophy cabinet.
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