Arsenal chief Ivan Gazidis has angered fans by claiming finishing outside the top four won't hurt the club.

Gazidis made the comments after the club posted pre-tax profits of almost £50 million.

Mike Barnett, spokesman for the fans' group 'Arsenal FC, not PLC', told The Sun: "That is a ridiculous thing for Ivan to have said.

"In the past few years we have qualified for the Champions League and our best players have still left, so how can we expect to keep them if we aren't in the Champions League?

"The likes of Cesc Fabregas and Samir Nasri, even Thierry Henry in 2007, all left in part because they wanted to win trophies and didn't think they could do that with us.

"For us the Champions League is the be-all and end-all - we run a tight ship financially and losing out on £40m of Champions League money would mean we can't attract the best players.

"Van Persie won't be at Arsenal if we aren't in the Champions League next season, unless he sees we are investing heavily in top-quality players.

"Ultimately, ambition has to come from the top down and this sort of statement doesn't help."