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Despite being the seventh richest football club in the world, according to figures released this week, Arsenal currently sit fifth in the Premier League table – 13 points off the top.
The Gunners have qualified for the group phase of the Champions League in 17 successive seasons, but there are no guarantees that they will extend that run to 18.
Arsene Wenger’s side are currently one point below fourth-placed Manchester United and only marginally above Tottenham Hotspur and Liverpool, both of whom are starting to find form.
Arsenal are fairly likely to finish fourth again, but they cannot afford to take any chances when it comes to Champions League qualification.
Anyway, a club that can turnover £300.5m in 12 months should not be settling for fourth.
Wenger needs to commit to investing in his team.
Arsenal’s one major summer splurge – £30m on Alexis Sanchez – has proved to be excellent business, with the Chilean scoring 12 goals and assisting another seven in 21 Premier League appearances.
Alexis was not Arsenal’s only summer signing. The Gunners also brought in Danny Welbeck, David Ospina, Calum Chambers and Mathieu Debuchy for transfer fees ranging from £3.2m to £16m.
None of those four players have noticeably improved Wenger’s first XI. Seventeen-year-old Krystian Bielik, who joined the Gunners for around £2m from Legia Warsaw this week, will not make a big impact in the short-term either.
Padding out the squad is not what Arsenal need. They need to improve their first XI by bringing in a readymade top-class centre-back and a fully-developed defensive midfielder (not a promising teenager).
In truth, Arsenal are agonisingly close to having one of the best teams in Europe. However, they will not win the Premier League title again, let alone compete for the Champions League, until they adopt a more aggressive transfer policy.
Arsenal are being strongly linked with a bargain move for Villarreal centre-back Gabriel Paulista, but for no more than £40m they could almost certainly sign Borussia Dortmund’s Mats Hummels – one of the world’s top defenders.
If they bring in Hummels, then tempt Real Madrid’s Sami Khedira to the Emirates Stadium with an attractive wage package this summer, Arsenal would start next season as massive title contenders.
However, if Wenger continues his stingy ‘pick and mix’ approach, the Gunners could just as easily drift into Europa League obscurity.