Arsenal’s chief executive, Ivan Gazidis, has insisted that finishing fifth in the Premier League and failing to qualify for next season’s Champions League would be a huge disappointment.
The Gunners currently face a tough battle to secure a top four finish, sitting six points behind fourth-placed Aston Villa.
Arsenal also missed a glorious opportunity to close the gap on Martin O’Neill’s men yesterday.
Whilst Villa lost 1-0 to Chelsea, Arsene Wenger’s side could only manage a goalless draw with Sunderland at the Emirates Stadium.
Speaking to the Sunday Mirror, Gazidis has admitted that whilst the club can cope without the huge revenues generated by the Champions League, it is vital his club qualify for the competition for footballing reasons.
“We expect to progress in the Champions League and contend for that trophy. And we expect to qualify for the Champions League next year,” he said.
“Obviously there is a financial impact. But it’s not something that we rely on for our continued survival or success.
“This club can sustain itself effectively forever without Champions League revenues. But that’s not something that would be acceptable to us.”
Gazidis also admitted that his club’s form this season had been a disappointment and that he was desperate to see a strong finish to the season.
“This club wants to be one of the best clubs in the world. And, it’s impossible to achieve that goal if you’re not in the Champions League,” explained the chief executive.
“We are all disappointed that we’re currently in fifth place. We’ll continue to fight until the last kick of the season.
“The difference between real success and failure for this season is going to be very, very small.
“The next four to six weeks will be important in defining our season.”
Yet despite the Gunners’ current league position, Gazidis was quick to praise manager Wenger who he insisted he has complete confidence in.
“Arsene is a fantastic manager,” he said.
“I believe we have probably the best manager in the world. Certainly one of them.”
Gill Clark, Goal.com