Arsenal clinched fourth place in the Premier League yesterday with a 1-0 victory at Newcastle.
Arch-rivals Tottenham claimed a 1-0 victory over Sunderland with a late goal from Gareth Bale, but in the end the win did not matter.
Arsenal has qualified for the Champions League for the 16th consecutive season. The record is a creditable one.
However, should Arsenal be doing better than just finishing in the top fourth every season?
Arsenal has done incredibly well considering the clubs lack of spending in recent years. Boss Arsene Wenger has guided the club through a tough period.
The Frenchman has managed to keep the Gunners in the top fourth, despite the club building the excellent, but very expensive Emirates Stadium.
The north London outfit have sustained a good standard of performance throughout Wenger’s time in charge of the club. The Frenchman has been criticised for the club not challenging for the Premier League titles and trophies.
However, Wenger has kept Arsenal in the top four of the Premier League in his 15 years in charge of the club. The club has a strict wage structure and does not spend big like the teams above them. Compared to Manchester United, Manchester City and Chelsea the Gunners are not in the same spending bracket.
According to reports, Wenger will have a massive transfer budget to spend this summer. The Gunners will have to stay within their wage structure while competing with other big clubs for new signings this summer.
A lack of ambition last summer cost them star striker Robin van Persie, who decided to move to Manchester United after failing to win a trophy with the Gunners. The move paid instant dividends as he claimed the Premier League title with the Red Devils this season.
The Gunners need to make some quality signings this summer or the club will remain just challengers for the Champions League. Whether Wenger will be prepared to spend big, even if he is given the funds remains to be seen.
The Frenchman is very much an economist; well he would be having studied economics in his younger years. If Wenger does not think a player is value for money, he will not sign them. Sometimes however teams have to pay over the odds for a player that will make the difference.
It is going to be difficult for Arsenal to challenge for the Premier League title next season though. The likes of Manchester United, Manchester City and Chelsea are all miles ahead of the Gunners. The fact that Arsenal needed a last day victory to make the top four proved that they are no longer good enough to challenge for the big prizes.
There will be major changes at the top of the Premier League this summer. The top three teams from the Premier League this season will change their bosses and could go through periods of transition.
New managers usually bring new ideas and philosophies to clubs. These philosophies may take time to instil in their teams. That means that Arsenal could have a head start in the fact that the Wenger knows his players and his players know Wenger philosophy.
Even with those changes Arsenal need to make a number of quality additions to mount a realistic challenge for the title next season. If quality players do not arrive in the summer then the Gunners will be left behind.
Arsenal does not currently look like they could mount a creditable challenge for the title next season. The top teams are likely to spend big in the summer and Arsenal does not operate that way.
Gunners fans may just have to accept that their team will not be competing for the title anytime soon. However, qualifying for the Champions League is a financial necessity these days and Arsenal does that every season.
Financial stability is no bad thing, but I am sure that Gunners fans would rather be spending big and challenging for the big trophies. For now, they will have to be happy with consistent top four finishes, a position that Spurs fans would love.
Will Arsenal spend big this summer?
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