This summer’s transfer window has an air of uncertainty for Arsenal, but manager Mikel Arteta has said he’s “very, very regularly” in contact with the club’s decision-makers to discuss strategy.
Arsenal can no longer secure a top-four finish in the Premier League, and their failure to qualify for next season’s Champions League could see them miss out on many transfer targets.
Not only will the Gunners not feature in Europe’s first-tier tournament, but next season looks likely to be the club’s first without any sort of continental competition since the 1995/96 campaign.
Arteta addressed the media ahead of Wednesday’s league visit to Chelsea and conceded some summer plans are bound to change as a result of this season’s performance: “We've been sitting down the whole year. We've been in constant communication and things will change, some things will stick to the plan that we already had and some other things will come out.
“But we sit down very, very regularly to talk about those things.”
Winning the Europa League crown was the club’s last remaining hope of a route back to the Champions League, but a semi-final loss to Unai Emery’s Villarreal ended that possibility.
Defeat at Stamford Bridge would all but end Arsenal’s fading hopes of qualifying for the Europa League.
The north London outfit sit ninth with three games to play and are five points off the top six, but Liverpool (sixth) and Everton (eighth) each have a game in hand.
Arsenal will hope to improve their squad options after agreeing to terminate the contracts of Mesut Ozil, Shkodran Mustafi and Sokratis Papastathopoulos during the January transfer window.
Asked whether the club will have to pay off more contracts again in the summer, Arteta replied: “I don’t know where the summer will take us. I think every situation will be different and hopefully we are not in that position anymore.”
The club's owners, the Kroenke family, are under pressure to turn fortunes around at Arsenal following their role in the short-lived European Super League proposals.
Fans protested Stan Kroenke's ownership outside the Emirates Stadium, but investing in a squad rebuild this summer would be one way to curry favour once again.
Spotify co-founder Daniel Ek has intensified pressure on Kroenke after declaring an interest in taking over the club, a bid that has the backing of club legends Thierry Henry, Dennis Bergkamp and Patrick Vieira.
It remains to be seen whether Arsenal will look to permanently sign Martin Odegaard, Dani Ceballos (both on loan from Real Madrid) or Brighton goalkeeper Mat Ryan when their deals expire.
David Luiz, 34, is also approaching the end of his contract at the Emirates and is yet to agree an extension.
Arteta’s squad will have several openings should that quartet leave, but the manager didn’t confirm whether departures were necessary to facilitate new signings: “I don’t think it’s completely like that, but it will restrict and alter some plans in relation to what happens with one or two.”
Arsenal invested a combined £68million to sign Thomas Partey and Gabriel last summer, but the absence of Champions League football may restrict similar signings come the end of this season.
Arteta’s maiden season as manager ended in eighth place—the club’s lowest finish in 25 years—but an even worse outcome in his first full term will only dissuade potential targets further.
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