Mikel Arteta lays out Arsenal’s transfer plans as Gunners face financial burden of European woes

Mikel Arteta has acknowledged that Arsenal will have to make tough decisions over the future of key players if they fail to qualify for Europe next season.

With 11 games of the Premier League season to go Arsenal find themselves eight points off fourth-placed Chelsea and out of the Europa League after Thursday’s shock loss to Olympiacos at the Emirates Stadium.

The following day saw Arsenal release accounts that revealed the club had made a £27.1million loss in the 12 months until May 31, 2019. The accounts for the following year seem set to reveal an even greater financial burden on the north London giants, whose exit at the Europa League round of 32 will see them earn tens of millions less than last season when they reached the final.

Arsenal’s worsening financial situation comes as they prepare for a summer where the contractual situations of a string of key players, including Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Bukayo Saka, Alexandre Lacazette and Matteo Guendouzi, will come under greater focus. The first two have just over a year left on their current terms whilst Lacazette and Guendouzi’s deals expire in 2022.

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Those players could either play sizeable roles in the rebuild Arteta is expected to conduct or find themselves up for sale as the Gunners look to swell their coffers to sign new players in the summer. Much could depend on whether the season ends with or without European football.

Arteta confirmed to that planning was “absolutely” under way for how the Gunners would adapt in the transfer market if they were without European football with multiple scenarios drawn up depending on whether Arsenal reach the Champions League, Europa League or neither.

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He conceded: “I think the damage caused by the club not being in the Champions League for the third season is really big.

“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 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.

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“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 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…