Arsene Wenger has managed to get us into the Champions League by hook or crook year after year, and he doesn’t get the appreciation he deserves for it. We struggled financially for years, but Wenger still kept us competitive and in the top four; and things could have been very, very different if we had have dropped out of the Champions League.
Figures from last year show that Arsenal, Manchester United, Chelsea, and Liverpool all earned five times as much as Tottenham from their European adventures (via the Evening Standard), which really emphasises the importance of being in the Champions League.
The report reveals that we earned £26.6m from our Champions League excursions, despite crashing out against AS Monaco in the round of 16. Tottenham played exactly the same number of games as we did in Europe, but earned a meagre £4.5m.
Our cash reserves are obviously extremely healthy at the moment after coming through the financial mire that threatened to cripple us for years, but how different would things have been had we failed to qualify for the Champions League one or more of those years?
Missing out on such a huge amount of money even for a single year could have had a massive impact, and who knows what could have changed. We may have missed out on players like Santi Cazorla, Mesut Özil, or Alexis Sanchez, and we could have found ourselves in a downward spiral like Liverpool have been for so long.
We’ve seen the effect being out of the Champions League for any length of time has on a team’s ability to attract the biggest players, and missing out for a season or two can get you stuck in a vicious cycle.
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These figures displays just how key it is that we remain in the Champions League and competitive, and shows how grateful we should be to Arsene Wenger – even if he hasn’t been perfect.