Mikel Arteta admits a lack of Champions League football will ‘damage’ Arsenal with the club facing a difficult task to secure a return to Europe’s elite.
The north London side currently sit tenth in the Premier League and face a huge battle to secure a top four finish, Arteta’s side trailing fourth-placed Chelsea by eight points and facing the prospect of a fourth consecutive season without Champions League football.
Arsenal‘s hopes were further dealt a blow following their Europa League defeat to Olympiakos last week – their extra-time exit to the Greek side closing off another possible route for a return to the competition.
Speaking ahead of tonight’s FA Cup fifth round tie at Portsmouth, Arteta has now warned that the club’s continued absence from the Champions League could have huge implications for their plans this summer.
“The damage caused by the club not being in the Champions League for the third season is really big,” Arteta said at his pre-match press conference.
“Financially the impact is enormous because the structure of this club is built to be in the Champions League and you can sustain that for one year or two, but then after you have to start making decisions.
“So we will have to make decisions one way or the other depending on the scenario we find ourselves in, whether we are in the Champions League, Europa League or nowhere near that.
“And we’ll have a very clear plan of what we want to do and depending where we are we have to act like this.”
Arteta suggested the financial implications are likely to hinder his possibilities in the transfer market, admitting the club could be placed in a ‘difficult’ situation should they fail to secure European football.
“It will be difficult but this is the situation we are in now,” he added.
“We’ve been in that situation because we haven’t performed as well as the other top-four clubs have been doing.
“That’s the reality and we have to face that reality face to face and try to make the best decisions.
“We don’t have margin for error with those decisions so they have to be very thorough and clear processes of where we have to improve and how we are going to do that and then go forward with no excuses.”