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Arsenal boss to rebuild on a tight budget

Mikel Arteta admits club could struggle to attract stars to the Emirates Stadium during the summer

06 March, 2020 — By Steve Barnett

Mikel Arteta: ‘Every player in the world wants to play in the Champions League and, if you talk about having this option on the table, players are much more open to joining this club or renewing their contracts’

MIKEL Arteta is braced for the daunting task of rebuilding Arsenal’s misfiring squad on peanuts, with the club on course to miss out on Champions League football for a fourth successive season.

The Gunners’ head coach says it is a “no-brainer” that they will struggle to attract top players, admitting that the club only have themselves to blame after not “performing” as well as their rivals.

With 11 fixtures remaining, the north Londoners find themselves eight points behind fourth-placed Chelsea, albeit with a game in hand.

And last week’s shock defeat to Olympiakos in the Europa League ended their only other route of returning to Europe’s top club competition.

It leaves Arteta with the arduous task of trying to convince key players such as Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Alexandre Lacazette to stay at the club.

“Every player in the world wants to play in the Champions League and, if you talk about having this option on the table, players are much more open to joining this club or renewing their contracts,” admitted the 37-year-old Spaniard.

“It will be difficult but this is the situation we are in now.

“We’ve been in that situation because we haven’t performed as well as the other top-four clubs. That’s the reality and we have to face that reality and try to make the best decisions.”

Arsenal recently announced financial losses for 2018/19, the first time they have done so since 2002. With that in mind Arteta knows only too well that every penny he is given to spend will have to be invested wisely.

“I think the damage caused by the club not being in the Champions League for a third season is really big,” he added.

“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, whether we are in the Champions League, Europa League or nowhere near either.

“We will have a very clear plan of what we want to do and, depending on where we are, we have to act like this. That is the reality.”

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