If Arsenal were to be eliminated from the Champions League on Wednesday, it would be the first failure to qualify for the group phase of the competition since Wenger became manager in 1996.
The cost to Arsenal would be about £25 million but, with the club’s robust finances further augmented this summer by the sales of Cesc Fabregas, Gaël Clichy and potentially Nasri, failing to qualify for the Champions League would not immediately restrict Wenger’s spending power.
The deeper question, however, is whether there would be an impact on the quality of players that Arsenal could hope to recruit. “It is easier [to attract players if you are in the Champions League] but it doesn’t make it impossible,” Wenger said. “I feel we have a more negative environment so it’s a bit more difficult for the team. That’s why the results are so important, to gain confidence back. Qualifying for the Champions League will be very important.”