Arsenal vice-captain Per Mertesacker has launched a frank statement regarding the club’s future in Europe’s top competition after the Gunners were knocked out in the last-16 stage for the fifth year in a row.
In previous years, losing to Bayern Munich and Barcelona was deemed acceptable, but the exit to Monaco is a real blow and one which raises question regarding where the club is going.
A spirited fight back was nothing but a heroic failure and Mertesacker has accepted that Arsenal are not close to landing their first Champions League title.
“Far,” Mertesacker replied when asked by the Guardian how close Arsenal are to reigning supreme on the continent.
“When you get knocked out, you are far away. Monaco were very underestimated but they deserved it by playing well in the first leg. We had one bad game and that was enough to get knocked out. We were missing some good fortune in the second leg but we didn’t deserve it because we played so poorly in the first leg.”
Mertesacker is making a habit of coming out post-match and saying the blunt statements fans want to hear when the team loses, but his leadership in the heat of the battle is nowhere to be seen.
His place in the team may be under threat in the future should Arsene Wenger aim to add another centre back in the summer.