Arsene Wenger has insisted that Arsenal missing out on Champions League qualification would not be a disaster for the club with the Gunners having slipped to sixth in the table.
Arsenal have qualified for Europe’s premier competition in every full season Wenger has managed the club but are in danger of missing out on next season’s tournament.
An awful run of results has left the Gunners two points behind Manchester United in fifth and six points behind Liverpool in fourth, although they do have two games in hand on the Reds.
Asked after Saturday’s defeat to West Brom, if missing out on the top four would be a disaster, he told Standard Sport: “No I don’t think so anymore. For a long time that was the case.
“On the sporting front it would be a blow but financially the Champions League doesn’t have the impact it had five-six years ago because of the television money.”
Wenger also insisted that his decision on whether to stay at the club or step down would not be influenced by Arsenal’s position in the table.
“I have taken a bigger perspective than [recent results],” Wenger said. “It’s not the last result that will decide whether I’m going.
“I’ve been in the top four 20 times. It’s not that [which will dictate my future].”
Despite his words, missing out on Champions League football would represent a huge blow to the club, particularly when it comes to bringing in new players this summer and indeed keeping hold of some of their stars.
However, it could be argued that a lack of European football could aid Arsenal when it comes to a Premier League title challenge, with Liverpool and Chelsea having both benefitted from not being involved in European competition this season.
Yet Arsenal’s current position means that even if they do miss out on the Champions League they will qualify for the Europa League which could prove another test with Premier League teams having traditionally struggled with the Thursday-Sunday routine the competition brings.