Earlier this week, Ivan Gazidis commented on the financial strength of the Arsenal and how it does not depend on Champions League qualification. He was seemingly trying to reassure fans just in case the worst does happen and we did fail to reach the competition.
Of course, this might mean demotion into the Europa League. This obviously wouldn’t be anywhere near as profitable for the club, with the prize money for winning the whole competition a meagre 300,000 Euros, or around £260,000. In comparison, the award for just reaching the Round of 16 in the Champions League is a far more handsome 3 million Euros, or £2.6 million. As these stats show, the Champions League is around 10 times more financially beneficial – without even mentioning television and advertising rights etc.
Still, it would be strange for the Gunners to disappear from the European stage completely next season. Many would be happy for us to qualify for the Champions League’s uglier, less popular UEFA sibling but would it be worthwhile?
Regardless of our form this season, we would be seen as one of the favourites for winning the competition. However, with up to 21 games needed to reach the final – including 3 rounds of wearisome qualifying if we only reach 7th place this season – it would lengthen our season and would make burn-out like that of Jack Wilshere a more common problem.
The Champions League would take 13 games to win it and having been used to playing no more than this for the past 13 seasons, a change would be difficult to take.
If the season does stay substandard and we are just unable to reach the Champions League, would it be plausible to try to avoid the Europa League? Being among the only clubs in the country to be making profits, it would be acceptable financially but would the Europa League really be considered ‘better than nothing’?