Ray Parlor says Arsenal must “take a bet” if it wants to challenge for Champions League spots next season – but the club’s financial turmoil means it will not be easy for Mikel Arteta.
Gunner boss Arteta is likely to settle for free loans and transfers this summer, the club facing huge losses in the aftermath of the coronavirus crisis, alongside the question of star players like Mesut Ozil with huge salaries and not being able to get rid of them.
Arteta’s task of rebuilding Arsenal into a top four club again seems like a gargantuan job with the club ninth in the Premier League table and even fighting to qualify for the Europa League not to mention the Champions League.
Mike Arteta faces daunting task this summer to make Arsenal one of the top four clubs
While his Chelsea rivals have already spent a lot on Timo Werner and Hakim Ziyech, Arsenal have given David Luiz a contract extension and a four-year contract to Cedric Soares who has yet to play a club game.
“Arsenal must look bigger, no doubt,” said Parlor, who has won three Premier League titles with the club.
“You may have to spend a little more money, you may have to bet a little more as a club. But if you enter the Champions League, you can cement your place there by attracting and having bigger players on the team. Arteta has done well so far, but now it’s up to the club to support him. “
Finances dictate Gunners boss to sign loan in summer
The problem is that the club cannot afford it. Arsenal posted losses of £ 27.1 million in its most recent accounts, while supporters’ confidence analysis predicted losses of £ 144 million next season if the campaign runs out behind closed doors, although The Mail on Sunday understands that some fans will likely be able to participate.
Arsenal earns around £ 100 million a year from its revenues. They received £ 34 million for reaching the Europa League final last season, so the very failure to qualify would hit them even harder.
Arteta’s balance is difficult. Parlor calls this a “juggling act”. Top scorer Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has not yet signed a new contract, which leaves Arteta with the choice of selling his best striker to free up funds or to allow Arsenal to execute a player’s contract again and to let them go for free.
“The owners have to take a little gamble, that’s what it comes down to sometimes,” Parlor said. “Try to attract a few players. They must try to keep Aubameyang if they can, Sako is also about to withdraw from the contract and they have to get rid of a few. Man City and Liverpool are on another level.
“Then you have Manchester United, they will buy players in the summer. Frank Lampard, you have already seen that the owner really trusts him, they have two excellent players at Werner and Ziyech. Leicester – will they get stronger? Probably.
“Before you know it, the wolves will say, ‘Okay, we’re going to have a bet, we’re going to try to get Champions League football.’
Ray Parlor believes Arsenal need an injection of money to compete with other top clubs
“The more you’re not there, the harder it is to get back there. They must therefore be careful because you can quickly slip into this league. “
Arteta knows how important work is. He saw Liverpool crowned champion, reaping the rewards of construction under Jurgen Klopp since 2015.
“The leaderboard shows how far we are currently,” said Arteta. “Comparing with them is not the right thing to do. Or try to cut and paste, emulate something like that. It does not work.
“We have to do what we think is the right thing to do.
“The context is completely different from what they had at the time. We have to adapt our context, our situation, the actors and the environment that we have and then we have to start making decisions. I think if we are a little patient we will see big changes. “
Watch the Emirates FA Cup on BT Sport, with exclusive live coverage of Sheffield United against Arsenal from 12:30 p.m. Sunday on BT Sport 1.