MIKEL ARTETA warned that Arsenal face a summer firesale if they miss out on the Champions League for a FOURTH consecutive season.
The Gunners boss fears last week’s shock Europa League exit is likely to have severe financial consequences.
And he may be forced to sell some of his leading stars to make up for the cash shortfall, with the futures of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Alexandre Lacazette, Bukayo Saka, Granit Xhaka and Shkodran Mustafi all up in the air.
Arteta knows the club simply cannot afford to miss out on European qualification for the first time since 1995.
He said: “The damage caused by the club not being in the Champions League is really big.
“The financial impact is enormous because Arsenal is structured to be in the Champions League.
“While you can sustain being out of it for one year or two years, after that you have to start making big decisions.
“We will have to make decisions about players depending on the scenario we find ourselves in, whether we are in the Champions League, the Europa League or nowhere near either.
“The planning has started and we’ll have a very clear idea of what we want to do, depending on where we finish the season.”
Arteta, 37, added: “It’s a no-brainer it will be easier to get players to sign contracts with us if we are in the Champions League.
“Everyone knows we want to be in that competition but even without it there are ways to convince players.
“If it’s not them, it’s their wives who want to live in London. We’ll find a way, don’t worry.”
Thursday’s Europa League elimination at the hands of Olympiakos leaves the FA Cup as Arsenal’s last hope.
And Arteta knows tonight’s fifth-round trip to Portsmouth is a potential banana skin.
He warned: “I played at Fratton Park ten years ago and still have memories of matches there.
“It is going to be a very tough place for us to get a result.”