Arsenal go into their final Premier League fixture today wondering as to whether they will be playing in the Champions League next season. Arsenal ideally need defeats for both Liverpool and Man City if they generally want to guarantee a place in Europe’s biggest club competition, but it seems unlikely given their respective opponents.
The Gunners are in real danger of missing out on the Champions League for the first time under Wenger and it could be one of his final courses of action for the club. Besides the FA Cup final held at Wembley, today could be Wenger’s final appearance as an Arsenal manager at the Emirates, and it could well be his final Premier League game. A non-appearance in the Champions League next season would mainly mean two things for the club. Firstly the Gunners may suffer a issue of potentially losing their best players, Alexis and Ozil, and also failing to attract new stars to the Emirates. And secondly the club would find itself without the added financial boost you get from playing in the competition.
In the past the Champions League has meant big money, playing amongst Europe’s elite. However Wenger now reckons the money isn’t as much of a necessity anymore as Arsenal finds itself in a financially strong position. Wenger said: “It [the top four] has not the financial weight that it had before, for sure, because television money has gone up (in the Premier League). Financially you don’t suffer anymore. I was sitting here during the period when we had to pay the stadium back and the income of the Champions League was absolutely vital. On the financial point we are not in trouble. It’s more the fact that we want to play in the best competition. Financially, no, it’s not a disaster.”
Arsenal are now debt free from paying off the stadium and have no major expenses on the books. It means that besides the astronomical wages paid each week to the players and some staff, the income generated can line the pockets of our owners and the Arsenal bank of funds. It’s understood that the Gunners are in a strong financial position and thus there is no concern about becoming unstable if the club was to miss out on the money generated from finishing in the top four. The biggest issue will be the fact that we will miss out on being one of the consistent members of the Champions League and we will have to be careful that missing out for the first time doesn’t send us on a spiral, much like what happened to Liverpool.
Arsenal are in fact a wealthy club, and that’s known to the general public. It is just an issue that the Gunners do not invest such wealth into improving the club’s situation and as a result, we find ourselves stagnating at just coming in the top four every year, or as we’ve seen this season, probably not even that.