The clubs who have managed to secure a place in one of UEFA’s competitions for this season start their respective campaigns this week, and for the first time in 25 years, Arsenal are not among them. There are, of course, consequences of such a situation, several negative, but also some positive ones relating to Arsenal’s current overall predicament. Much has been said about the club’s transition phase taking too long to end, and with that in mind, it’s not really surprising that they have no place in the Europa League – let alone the Champions League, and that in itself is a pretty sobering thought. The Gunners produced a second consecutive eighth-place finish in the Premier League last term, but this time there was no FA Cup triumph to bail them out.
According to the Daily Mirror, Arsenal are monitoring the situation of young Lorient striker Alexis Claude-Maurice. The report claims that the youngster will be available for a fee of around £9million this summer.
The 20-year-old has attracted attention in the second tier this season scoring 14 league goals. Reportedly, Premier League new boys Norwich also hold an interest in the youngster. High-flying Lille could also enter the race for the forward if highly-rated Nicolas Pepe leaves this summer, with the Gunners have also been linked with the Ivory Coast winger.
According to reports from Sky Sports, Crystal Palace star Wilfried Zaha has asked to leave the Eagles this summer. The 26-year-old is reportedly looking to play Champions League football next season. The news could be significant for Arsenal, as the Gunners are now 1/ 2 favourites to sign Zaha this summer.
Starting to fulfil his potential
Wilfried Zaha has started to fulfil his potential in the last few seasons in a poor Palace team. This season the Ivory Coast forward has scored ten league goals and produced five assists after playing much of the campaign as a central forward.
Former Arsenal midfielder Edu has confirmed that he has held talks with the north London club about becoming the next technical director. However, he has stated that he is currently concentrating on his role in the technical director of the Brazilian national team, with the Copa America this summer.
Edu is reportedly the Gunners preferred target to take the role after the highly-rated Monchi returned to his former club Roma after a stint with Roma in Italy.
Waiting until after the Copa America
Edu is quoted by the Metro as saying: ‘I had a conversation with Arsenal. There’s an interest,’
On Thursday night, Valencia host Arsenal at the Mestalla in the Europa League semi-final second leg, with the Gunners 3-1 up from the first leg at the Emirates Stadium.
Valencia head into this clash on the back of three defeats in their last four games in all competitions. However, Los Ches ended a three-game losing streak by hammering struggling Huesca 6-2 last time out.
Despite their recent struggles, Valencia have a good recent record in the Europa League. In fact, the first leg defeat at the Emirates Stadium ended a seven-game unbeaten run in the competition, consisting of six wins and a draw.
We are now close to the end of Unai Emery’s first season in charge of Arsenal. The Spaniard has done a decent job. The Gunners look set to miss out on the top-four but are closer to the teams in the Champions League this season than in recent campaigns. They could even miss out on a top-four place courtesy of an inferior goal difference to Spurs.
The team from north London also have an excellent chance of making it to the final of the Europa League. The Gunners of course travel to Spain to face Valencia on Thursday night for the semi-final second leg with a 3-1 advantage from the first leg.
Arsenal have somehow snatched defeat out of the jaws of victory in the race for the Premier League top-four. The Gunners drew 1-1 with Brighton at the Emirates Stadium on Sunday, a result which virtually ended Arsenal’s chances of claiming a top-four finish.
Unai Emery’s side will head into the last day of the season three points adrift of arch-rivals Tottenham in fourth-place. However, Spurs have a superior goal difference of eight, which is really not going to swing enough in the Gunners favour.
After failing to beat Brighton and Hove Albion at the Emirates on Sunday, Arsenal’s chances of finishing inside the top four and qualifying for next season’s Champions League that way are gone.
There is still a mathematical possibility which says the Gunners need to beat Burnley at Turf Moor and Tottenham Hotspur need to lose at home to Everton. Neither of these conditions is impossible, but the results need to be such that they nullify an eight-goal advantage Spurs currently have in terms of goal-difference, and that, let’s face it, is extremely unlikely to happen.
According to the Daily Star, Arsenal’s reported transfer target Nicolas Tagliafico has decided to remain at Champions League semi-finalists Ajax for another season.
The Argentinian international had previously been linked with a move to north London. However, it seems he is happy in the Dutch capital, for now anyway.
Gunners need a left-back this summer
Arsenal are on the lookout for a new left-back with Nacho Monreal expected to exit as a free agent this summer. Sead Kolasinac has played in the position on a regular basis for the Gunners, but the former Schalke star is better suited to play as a wing-back.
According to the Daily Mail, Ligue One outfits Lyon and PSG are eying moves for former Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger. Both are reportedly consisting appointing the veteran French boss as their general manager, which would be similar to the role he had at Arsenal.
Wenger has been out of work since last summer
The Frenchman’s last role in football was of course at Arsenal, which ended last summer. He had been linked with a number of roles since his exit from the Gunners, including Everton last summer and Fulham mid-season.