Would a season without qualifying for Europe be such a bad thing?
As it stands at the time of writing, Arsenal are on the precipice of failing to qualify for a spot in European competition for the first time in 26 years. Without winning the Europa League – a mammoth task in itself – we will tumble out of any form of European ties for next season.
Quite the fall from grace considering where we were less than two decades ago.
And while it is hard to stomach for us all, there could be benefits to the Gunners being without Euro tasks filling our calendar.
Of course, there are plenty of drawbacks. Chief among them is the income generated from European participation. If fans were allowed back in the grounds again, a healthy 50,000 piling into The Emirates would plump up the coffers quite nicely for a Thursday nights work. Post group stage? Full capacity more than likely, and the numbers keep going up. And while the fee going to the club for a later-stage knockout is not exactly game changing, it is beneficial and can cover other fees with it.
Without the matchday revenue though, it does leave a big discrepancy to take into account. And who isn’t a fan of balancing the books?
Without Europe, there is another drawback too – one that may have longer-lasting ramifications for the club.
Let’s face it, the top talent want to play on the biggest stage. And while Arsenal still have an allure of sorts when it comes to attracting top talent – an endured hiatus from Europe will definitely sway some players from signing on the dotted line.
There are alternatives to avert this however. Instead of attempting to bring new talent in – we could instead focus on the promising youth players we have on our books. Players like Miguel Azeez, Charlie Patino, Trae Coyle, James Olayinka. Just a few that could actually flourish on the big stage if given the opportunity. The game has changed so that 18 years old isn’t so young anymore. We are regularly seeing 16 year olds make their bow and a big splash – and if they are good enough, then we should give them a whirl. It would certainly be cost-effective and us fans love to see a youth teamer progress up the ranks.
Back to the beginning though – and who would have thought that we would be facing this situation ten years ago? Right in the middle of the Wenger ‘Banter’ years. When achieving fourth spot and Champions League qualification was our basic objective each season. Now not only does the premiere Euro competition seem so far away, we are all set to be stripped of our Europa League participation.
We are floundering. By not qualifying for Europe we could hit the reset button and really decide the squad. Ensure all squad members believe in the system and give their all for it. The kids could certainly fulfil that side of things, if Saka, Smith-Rowe and our other youth players are anything to go by.
Think of Germany post Euro2000. When they finished bottom of their table. They devised a gameplan, ensured it was followed through from the youngest players all the way up to the senior years. They stuck to it and it came to fruition. It’s a long term goal, but with success at the end.
We have hit that Euro 2000 point, but without the Europa League to distract us, we could give our full focus to rectifying our Premier League position next season and making sure all of our squad – after weeding out the last of the deadwood – are singing from the same hymn sheet.
Drastic change needs drastic measures.
What do you think? Is a holiday away from Europe a good thing or bad?