Opinion: No European football for Arsenal means more mediocre signings

Arsenal has reached a point that most of us would never have imagined, a campaign without European football next season.

The Gunners have blown hot and cold for much of this season and they will now have to go back to the drawing board at the end of this campaign.

Like most Arsenal fans, I was very optimistic that we would win the Europa League after the semi-final first leg.

I never doubted that we would beat Villarreal by a lone goal at home because on our good days, that is easy to achieve.

I was also confident that we would beat Manchester United in the final because Mikel Arteta has a fine record against them.

Well, all this changed when we couldn’t score just one goal at the Emirates and crashed out of the Europa League.

Stan Kroenke has already promised to invest in the team when the transfer window reopens.

If we had secured Champions League football, then it would have been easier to sign the best players.

That is tricky now and I think we need to prepare for even more mediocre additions to our squad.

This is because top players will usually move to Champions League teams or at least, to a team with good prospects of qualifying for Europe’s elite competition.

The only reason any top player will join us is if Kroenke agrees to throw a lot of money at them and we all know the possibility of that happening is almost non-existent.

Tags State of Arsenal


  1. European football is not an attraction for players. What attracts players to Arsenal is our generous long term contracts with no performance clauses.
    Arsenal played 14 EL fixtures for nothing.
    And the money from TV rights in the EL is pitiful.
    Thursday night football is worthless.
    Be honest can you name the teams we played in the group stage of the EL this season? Can you name the Manager, Captain and the home stadium of any of those teams we played?
    Of course you can’t that’s how irrelevant EL football is.
    Avoiding European football this season is so important
    Arsenal fans condemn Mr Kroenke for having no love for Arsenal. Well fans should also criticize all the foreign players who join Arsenal because most have little or no love for the club. They are all here for the mula.
    Covid showed how the players loved the club when they only took a tiny cut which they got back by winning the FA Cup.
    Bellerin Holding Chambers Elneny and Xhaka are probably the only true senior Arsenal players right now. It’s too early to tell with the youngsters. There are no club legends any more no characters just temporary money laundering mercenaries.
    Arteta is an Arsenal man and needs now to sign players who put club before money.
    Basque clubs in Spain only sign players born in that region.
    Arsenal should implement a born in London policy for the next 10 years.
    Slashing salaries by 75% would also help eradicate the glory hunters and money grubbers.

    1. Wyoming,”A born in London policy”! What arrant nonsense! Why stop there? Why not born in London N5 only? And had to live no further away from the club than Finsbury Park? Remind me where Henry, Bergkamp, Vierra were born- as it certainly was NOT London.
      An incredibly childish and pathetic comment!

      A shame though, as much else of your post was worthwhile and and made sense, esp the salaries being slashed, which is bound to happen across the sport at elite level, if it is to even survive in the longterm.

  2. If you have good manager he can do wonders with the avg players and if you have avg managers he will still produce average performances with world class team. So you can give Arteta Man city and he will still find a way to fail. For me managers are like players either they have it or not, hard work and experience can take you to the level but after that it’s all about the talent. Look what pep has done to city they had money and players before but no other manager was able to do with city what he did. Adding quality players and getting best out of them. Where as Arteta has completely destroyed our good players like Auba and Partey as well. He even made Willian struggle in the league in which he has been paying for years even though Willian at his worst was still a bit better then avg. When we signed him he was a spent force but no way he could have gone this shxt in course of months. Laca struggling, midfield struggling and amount of red cards because of frustration is all down to Arteta. Problem is with out the lure of Europe and a well known manager who would like to play for Arsenal. Unless we offer stupid amount of salary like Chinese do to grab players. How can any club owner who has interest in football and puts the club first let ppl like Arteta, Edu and Vinai get away with one full year of failure not only on the field but on transfer front as well.

    1. It’s interesting what you say about talent, hard work and experience. Arteta’s own career mirrored your exact sentiments, he worked hard and he moved around to different leagues acquiring experience but he never could get out of 2nd gear. He was just an all round ordinary player. It’s beautiful that in life you can rise to near the top through hardwork and desire, even though you might not reach the heights of those gifted in that field. I just hope his managerial career is above average, for Arsenal’s sake.

  3. Amazing thing is some ppl think being out of Europe is good for us and there was no point of being in champions League over the years with Wenger just to make up numbers. They forget being in Europe generates revenue which helps sustaining teh club big time, it helps to attract quality players bec 90% of good players want to play in Europe on the biggest stage, it helps with sponsorship deals and it’s give a chance to the club to win competition. You have to be in it to win it. Ppl are quick to latch onto the defeats we suffered in champions League but forget some memorable visitors as well aginst the big European clubs. All in all I feel some Arteta supporters will go down what ever extend to defend his failure what next when we get relegated to championship these lot will say there was no point in playing in EPL any ways we don’t like to see our team get embarrassed in EPL by other so better we are in championship. Your goals need to be realistic but they need to be high as well. If you are going to start the season playing for 4th spot then for sure you will finish below it but if you aim for title even if you don’t win it you will finish in top 4 because you are fighting for title and you know you can not be satisfied with poor results.

    1. As you put it very well yesterday, for some Arteta’s success is more important than the team so the club has to give him money and time until he gets it right (at the expense of team’s success and supporters happiness and mental health if I might add)

      That was a very good point and I will keep reminding them of it but only if they are aggressive in their defense of Arteta.

      1. HH and Logic

        I can assure you that any self respecting Arsenal supporter would not put Arteta’s success ahead of what is best for the club.

        On the basis that the club had decided to take a punt on a totally untested man to lead the line, we all must have had an inkling that there would be bumps. I was patient throughout and hoped that lessons would be learned from errors that he made. He may take stock and review his performance if still in post next season, but then again he may not. That then is down to the ownership to act.

        There was nothing wrong with giving him a fair crack of the whip. It isn’t as if we have the American equivalent of Roman Abramovitch to sack the manager and install the likes of Tuchel and provide top talent in transfers for years on end.

        Are people going to be pilloried forever for believing that Arteta could turn the club around? It is becoming like a form of one upmanship – an I told you so scenario.

        1. Dear Sue,

          Someone without mentioning any names (TMJW) recently accused Wenger supporters of putting him above the club, something he also does with Arteta. One can even say he is the one putting his favourite above the club because why defending a coach who is dragging the club to God knows where?

          Since he is the one who started it, I won’t miss a chance and he knows this to remind him not to put Arteta above the club every time he defends him.

          One can defend any coach they like but it should end there. When they start calling other opinions stupid or negative energy we can’t allow them to run rampant.

        2. Excellent SueP.

          I for one am fully behind, and echo, the points you make in your comment which are really spot on.

        3. The point I am trying to make SueP is that why have different success criteria for different ppl. Same thing which was not good enough for one how can that become good enough for other one. If fans wanted Wenger gone then UE then they should do the same for Arteta because he actually did worse in his job then his predecessor but ppl are still sticking with him and giving excuses after excuse. Also it is not right that his success is just his succes but his failure is down to everyone else at the club from owner to players but not him. That is why some fans here want him at the club next year because they don’t think he is a failure they blame other ppl and circumstances.

          1. I take your point Logic

            My views on Arteta getting an easier ride are that we all knew he was an absolute beginner in the role. No seasons in the Championship to hone his skills. Boff.. straight into the deep end at a club where a very long serving , respected manager was no longer able to make top4, along with Emery- a seasoned winner, also falling flat after 18 months and unable to turn the club around.

            I am not about apportioning blame but to expect a newbie to miraculously do what years of experience couldn’t do was incredibly optimistic in my view.

      2. 👍i remember the post in question calling us” not true fans..hypocrites..”can’t remember the author though!

        1. Tmjw of course who else? By making that post he has basically restricted himself from freely defending Arteta. If you see his comments after that post he is now refraining from defending Arteta directly.

  4. We’ve had some decent signings; Tierney, Gabriel, Partey, Martinelli, we just have a manager that can’t consistently get a good tune out of them.

    Constant cutting and chopping starting 11 and they can’t build chemistry together.

    No style, bad selections and pairings unbalance the team, unnecessarily complicating tactics, trying to micro manage positioning and every single pass.

    They are not robots, who can perform in this mirky mire? Top players for years look like rubes on the pitch.

    Arteta is not ready and a bad fit, maybe in a few years he may amount to something. But for now, sponsoring a rookie has been an unmitigated disaster for the club.

  5. I disagree on two key points in this article.

    Firstly, the position we’re in now, and the prospect of no European football was something I could see happening about a decade ago unless changes were made, they weren’t, and look what happened!

    Secondly, despite years of CL football, we still managed to sign a ton of deadwood.

    1. You saw it happening but it didn’t. Because we had capable men leading the team.

      Let us be careful not to put Arteta before the team TMJW, it has happened under him.

      Out of the top 4 race after just a third of the season had finished. Jumping into the water while he can’t swim.

      1. But it did happen HH, unless you deny facts? We continued to regress in the league and in Europe.

      2. The doom and gloom surrounding our disappointing season, is understandable , but like a few others I do not believe the fact that we will not be involved in mid week European games will be a major deterrent to attracting good quality “young” players.I have emphasised “young” because we simply cannot compete financially with certain Clubs for well established high profile players .Acquiring talented youngsters is the way ahead for Arsenal and in Tierney, Saka, ESR and Martinelli we have examples which we should add to next season.Our difficulty lies in unloading a raft of mediocre ,over paid players who , in tandem with errors of judgement made by an inexperienced Manager, have resulted in our failings.Like TRVL, I believe we are only 3/4 quality players away from being competitive again but it will take a number of transfer windows to bring this about regardless of who is our Manager.In essence, you can bring in the best Manager on the Planet,e.g. Pep and even he would not be able to turn our fortunes around in one season.So to those who are expecting miracles on the appointment of a new Manager, you are in for more disappointment. I’m afraid.

        1. I disagree grandad, not being in Europe is a big blow financially. In can also effect the sponsorship deals. A club like Arsenal just can not survive being out of euorpe, it’s a Dominos effect and we will land up in big trouble if this continues. You are right about getting young players but then with EPL being so tough I don’t think we can manage to finish in top 4 with a very young squad. Also we won’t be able to sign the really talented and world class youngsters either as even they won’t want to sign for a team in trouble on permanent basis. We can then become like a trial ground for other big clubs to test their youngsters. So even if we sign world class youngsters they will be on loan from these big clubs not permanent. We won’t generate money so of course we won’t be able to give then more lucrative contracts and even the youngsters who will sign for us if they do then they will view us as a stepping stone. So from consumers we will become suppliers like Ajaix and others. As finances dry up the club will shrink little by little.

    2. TMJW, what next if we get relegated to championship are you going to put out the same comment that you could see it happening decade ago? So in your own comment you have actually accepted that Arteta is step down in quality from Wenger era and we are regressing under him. Then how come you want to keep him, predicting something bad happening is one thing but then sticking by it and not wanting to do better is just not acceptable in any circumstances. Everyone one should learn form their failure and become strong not just buckle down and do nothing.

  6. Arteta shd be challenging for the epl from the word go.There will be no excuses without the attraction/distraction of Euro matches.
    At a minimum ,Arsenal must qualify for the cl ie finish 3rd/4th.Failure is not an option.
    We shd have a better picture Arteta is up to the job by Oct.If not its the exit

  7. This is NOT an endorsement of Kroenke, but if all that most fans say is true, can somebody explain these contradictory statements made almost daily by fans (I paraprase):
    “Kroenke is satisfied with mediocrity”
    “Kroenke wont spend money”
    “Kroenke authorises Arsenal expenditure”
    “Arsenal pay riculously high wages – a recipe for disaster”

    So if as claimed, Kroenke doesnt care about results or quality of players – only money, why does he allow such a high wage bill? All of the latest crazy contracts were signed off on his watch.

    And how can we criticise him for not spending while at the same time indirectly criticise him for paying too high wages?

    Lets face it, we have plenty of reasons to not like the guy – he is disinterested in the club and football ; he doesnt attend games; he is known to be obnoxious and is universally unpopular; he is American; he Is pretty scary looking; he publicly advocates earning before you spend; he has hired both incompetant management and shysters; he wanted in to the ESL.
    But can we really say he wont spend money when he authorises such horrendous salaries?

    1. guy, you are looking for rational thought in the thinking of many football supporters, where it is often lacking.
      To be quite honest football fans are no more or less rational, than the general public.

    2. I don’t know enough about kroenke to really comment but the high wages started a long time ago, before he took over. We did agree to pay a massive fee for Pepe under his watch, though, so what you say does ring true

      I just think we’ve been unintelligent in the way we’ve spent our money for a long time, and it’s catching up now. Most fans still seem to think the answer is just to spend more and more, like we’re collecting galacticos. We’ll get more success signing less known players who are motivated to elevate themselves (like Martinelli, but we need similar players with a bit more a age/experienced).

      1. Martinelli or guendouzi were smartsignings from emery. When he wanted some experience, he hoped for zaha but the club did not let him and went for pepe. Emery had a plan. Arteta does not seem to have one for the moment….

    3. Guy, I have been making this point for long time I don’t think owner is to blame for spending as we have spent a lot of money in transfer window and contracts for last 3-4 years. Pepe, Partey, Ozil, Willian and Auba are prime examples. It’s the people at club from viani to edu to Arteta who have failed. For me owner is to be blamed for not taking interest in football and looking at Arsenal just like another investment. He should be more involved and take more interest in the club, he should be bothered by our struggles and should try to rectify it if he can not do it himself then hire th right ppl. If it does not work move on and find new ppl who can do the job. I give Chelsea as an example Abra is not a manger but then he cares for success so he keeps shuffling through ppl to find solution to be successful.

  8. there was an article of little consequence posted early that seemed to suggest that fans were “fed up” with everything Arsenal-related as a result of our owner’s lack of care or concern for our beloved organization…I would disagree with this assessment in that I have experienced a different set of emotions in more recent times…as for being “fed up” I’m not sure this best represents my most sincere feelings…now that was definitely an all-too-common sentiment during the latter Wenger years, as it appeared as if change would never come, especially after Wenger seemed to survive the whole Sanchez, Ramsey and Ozil mishandlings, but under the previous and current regimes I think frustration is the more predominant inclination…the very fact that Emery was destined to fail, considering the parameters of his tenure, and that Arteta didn’t follow through on his original mandate, it has left me wondering what could have been if these situations were handled properly

    so let’s rewind a bit, we have seen two coaches/managers, not including the Freddie blip, and considerable administrative changes in the past 3 years…that’s quite a bit of turnover for a club who had just experienced two decades of relative continuity…of course, it’s not incredibly shocking to expect that your first kick at the proverbial can, following such an extended run, might fall flat…whether as a result of trying to reinvent highly antiquated hierarchical structures or attempting to reshape the current rosters, with all the difficulties that entails, and/or trying to develop a rapport with a highly divisive fanbase, this type of transitional phase will always be fraught with incredibly problematic issues

    as we saw this was just too much for the coach Emery and the “too many cooks in the kitchen” administrative wing, so instead of standing pat and trying to weather the storm, we actually cut and run…I thought this was quite a progressive move for a club that until then had only fired one manager since the mid-90s…of course, the post-Wenger experiment was too disjointed and mismanaged, especially when you didn’t give a system-based coach personnel input, to ever work long-term…that said, it appeared as if they learned from the error of their ways in a rather timely manner and moved in what I thought was a totally different and more reasonable direction

    by bringing in Arteta, albeit with no managerial experience, it seemed like they were going to actual pursue a proper “rebuild”…people were quick to speak about Mikel’s success as a developmental mentor, while under Pep, so it seemed only logical that this was what we were going to lean on…although I was somewhat skeptical, I remained exceedingly hopeful, especially considering what I knew of our emerging prospects, most notably Saka, Martinelli, Tierney and even ESR…most understood that we weren’t going to reinvent the wheel overnight, especially once matters got more complicated due to the pandemic, but hope still prevailed

    then Arteta fell victim to the same affliction that many young, aspiring managers do…reading his own headlines, following the FA, led him and others within the organization to abandon their original mandate…bringing in Willian, backing more senior players, while largely ignoring those within the developmental chain, was a short-sighted chips all in move…as most anticipated, this plan failed miserably, which ultimately led to a hard sell on a “rebuild” reboot narrative…too little, too late for my liking, but I still remain hopeful in the sense that I believe we have the basis of a potentially great team moving forward…for me we’re 4 players and 2 years away from truly competing

    that said, this only applies if the manager in charge gets the tactics right and so far this has been anything but the case…you need someone truly committed to the process of coaching up the kids, taking educated tactical chances that play into the strengths of said players and then focusing on recruiting those that fit our specific needs while simultaneously ridding ourselves of those who don’t fit the script…if we can find that individual, which I’m fairly convinced isn’t Arteta, I think there’s a functional light at the end of our tunnel…it’s just too bad that we wasted a whole year learning the very lesson we most feared upon hiring a green thumb manager, the task at hand was simply too big for such a novice…so if we can properly address our tactical malaise, new manger or not, I still feel that this could be a half glass full proposition, but if we continue down this present course we could experience an extended period of abject mediocrity

    1. Really good read RVL4 – and BALANCED, which is pretty rare here (my own comments always start off objectively but quickly spiral off into emotional rants!).
      Thanks for taking the time to write it.

    2. Brilliant and thoughtful post that was a pleasure to read.
      I think I’m still optimistic (perhaps too optimistic) that Arteta can turn this around because I have always seen this as a tough rebuild which was always going to involve some hard times, but it will only happen if he learns from the mistakes you have listed here

  9. Our clubs main problem has been poor recruiting which is down to shambolic management. When you sign a player from a foreign league you take a big chance on them adapting to their new surroundings,( the exception to this is established stars such as Ozil and Sanchez which are very very expensive). Unai Emery wanted Saha he got Pepi which probably got him the sack. T o strengthen a premier league side you need a nucleus of players in their mid twenties who are already proven in that league or a top team in the championship. These players cost money but are a far safer bet than the dozens signed from overseas via dodgy agents. When was the last time we signed an established premier league player? The only one I can remember is that right back from Newcastle who promptly got crocked and lost his place to Bellerin .The signing of the season for me was Martinez to villa from us, a proven player in the league and at a good fee.

  10. Leicester has less money than us, found some good players and won the Premier League. It’s not impossible

    1. @Stephanie
      Leicester is a strange case. They consistently sell their best players and remain competitive. From Kante, Mahrez, Maguire, Chilwell, Drinkwater. What is their secret? If we sold Saka today it’s down to 15th next season especially if that clown Arteta is still allowed to continue wrecking the club.

      1. QD, have you fallen on the stake yet, that you had ready for Unai Emery? He awaits for your apology for calling him “Dracula”. 🧛‍♂️🦇😁

          1. @Ozziegunner @guy
            I knew Emery was dangerous, that’s why I called him Dracula! 😂

          2. QD and guy, compare Emery’s CV to Arteta, yet Emery wasn’t persevered with and supported and Arteta has been given a free pass. Just defies logic.
            The results achieved by Arteta, have been what you would expect from a manager on his L plates.

    2. True Steph – theyre a shining light. The exception? Tough with a small fanbase and average cash to sustain it but theyre hanging in there. Outside the really big clubs (I include us) it may be impossible to stay there forever, and often when they fall they fall hard. I know times were different but I would argue its even tougher now than historically, with global fans and huge finances the big guys bounce back. Look at Derby, Notts Forest, to a lesser extent Leeds, Villa, Everton. All were dominant for periods but fell away and have struggled since.
      Unfortunately I can eventually see Leicester going too. Every choice they have made has been right, from managers to scouts to players. The luck WILL run out in the end.

  11. I think it is true that we will have a hard time attracting the big names. But the big names have not always worked out for us and are likely above our budget anyway.

    If we can find young talented players from smaller clubs, to them Arsenal would be a step up. Bissouma might be one of those players. Going from Brighton to Arsenal is still a step up.

    1. I hear what you are saying and recruiting new talent from smaller clubs makes sense, it’s an essential part of any top football clubs structure. So, why the hell did we “fire” all our talent scouts?

      1. Read an article – we have engaged sports headhunters to “re-hire” a scouting team. How stupid are we?

      2. Grant – I agree we are not a well-run club. On the contrary, I think for most key positions we are “light” on football or relevant experience, Arteta, Edu and Vinai are all not qualified enough for a club Arsenal’s size.

        What I am hoping is that a Bissouma from Brighton (or player like that) could still want to sign for us AND improve us despite no European football.

  12. Only good players that will sign for us can logically only have 1 motive, which is money.

    These are the exact kind of “top” players you don’t want.

    1. Very good players signed for teams like Leicester, Newcastle and wolves over the past few years, they just weren’t household names when they signed. Why? The get a platform to show what they can do in one of Europe’s top leagues, and arsenal would surely be more attractive than any of them bar maybe Leicester right now.
      These are the sorts of players we should be identifying and snapping up – been saying this for years (Newcastle signing players like Tiote and cabeye made it very clear to me – those players could have seriously improved our squad at the time for relatively little money and clubs had started doing what Wenger did when he first joined) but we seem to be more concerned with big names or players with “big club” experience. It’s one of our biggest issues.

    2. True PJ if we follow the model used since Wenger came of almost exclusively buying in foreign stars.
      Not true if we find the lesser known British gems and give our youth more of a chance. Not as “sexy” to us fans who have been seduced into thinking only big name foreigners can play football. But look where that has got us…

  13. I dont think Arsenal need a lot of signings. They have some good players sitting in their system like Saliba, Mavropanos, Willock, Balogun, Lopez, Matt Smith, Azeez, etc. They can easily be integrated into the side as these young ones will be eager to perform and make a mark on the team. They just need to get rid of some of the average players in the squad and make a couple of good signings with the money they can muster. Buendia, Dembele, Zakaria, Bissouma, Berge, Soumare, Calhanoglu, Daka, Edouard, Toney, are options. Arsenal just need to make three or four signings at best. Buendia, Dembele, and one of Bissouma, Zakaria, or Berge, plus a quality left back, and Arsenal should be good for top 6.

    1. Its sad isnt it MHR – all those players have “potential” stamped all over them, but we don’t know if they can be any good because they (except Willock arguably) cant get games for us to find out.

      1. I am surprised to find somewhere gooners with witty and clever arguments congregate. Why didn’t I find them earlier?

  14. We would have made mediocre signings regardless of European football. As long as Arteta is allowed to control the transfer kitty, more mediocre signings must be expected.

    1. Ryan Bertrand incoming….😳

      Interesting what MA had to say about the ‘majority’ of players giving their maximum this season but:

      “Some of them can get to a certain level and you cannot push them any further. You want to evolve them but it’s not possible.”

          1. For me it was “Fat” Santos at left back! I don’t even know if he was that old to be honest!

          2. How dare you Sue, he couldn’t help the fact that he hurt his back trying to help Wenger with his zipper…jacket zipper, of course

  15. I like it MTB! The article is addressing mediocrity, I can combine mediocrity, sheer arrogance & stunning wit and repartee(NOT!) – lets sign Harry Maguire. Another crap central defender won’t upset the apple-cart too much?

  16. Dear Arsenal , Nothing replaces Hard Work , you worked hard and you were rewarded . Learn from this . Same game when we won FA Cup .

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