Without Champions League football, how should Arsenal go about convincing players from other clubs, particularly big names, to sign for them?
While rumoured Arsenal target, Lyon striker, Alexandre Lacazette, hasn’t shot Arsenal down completely, he has said that whatever club he joins will have to be in the Champions League. Therefore, the Gunners’ inevitable failure to finish in the top four this season could cost them their supposed priority signing this summer.
Considering that Arsenal still aren’t fully able to compete with the mega-rich clubs in terms of wages and Arsene Wenger’s handle on his players has well and truly loosened, it’s hard to see why big players would choose to move here.
So, what can Arsenal do to convince players like Lacazette to sign for them?
Confidence in a plan
Arsenal need a plan. To put it lightly.
At the moment, the entire club is surrounded by uncertainty. No one knows for sure whether Wenger’s staying, and if he’s not, who will take over; whether certain players are staying or going; or if others are singing new deals.
No matter how good a position the club may appear to be in on the outside, if it’s falling apart from within, players won’t want to step into that mess.
No one boards a ship that’s already on fire.
If Arsenal want to sign big players without the pull of Champions League football, they’ll need to not only have a new plan in place for how they rebuild after this disappointing campaign but they have to be confident in it because they need the player to believe it’s going to work.
They need to have a clear, convincing way of securing Champions League football the following season and a full plan of how they’re going to do that.
Players need reassurances that this dip isn’t forever.
‘We need you’
One of the only pulls potentially stronger than Champions League football is the idea that an entire top flight team is centred around you, the player.
If the club can tie the player into the aforementioned plan, they’ll not only realise they’re needed, they’ll feel special.
Arsenal needs THEM to help rebuild.
This is usually where Wenger comes in, giving the star a private phonecall and explaining how much Arsenal need them.
He can be very convincing.
If he’s not staying, which seems unlikely at this point, the new manager needs to intrigue the player enough for them to want to take a chance, as well as convince them that this is the right move for them.
Arsenal Football Club™
When Manchester United failed to secure Champions League football, they still managed to attract players because of who they are. They’re a huge global brand. Their club name is known around the world and their history is undeniable.
While Arsenal isn’t quite as big, they’re not a million miles away.
Showing potential new signings the stadium, the history, the silverware won in the recent past and presenting that with an active willingness to return to that success, should be impressive.
It should hopefully prove to possible new players that this season is just a blip and that Arsenal is still a great club.
In fact, wouldn’t there be something slightly heroic about a big player taking a chance on little Arsenal and leading them to glory again?
Like when Mesut Ozil signed in 2013?
Whether Arsene Wenger or players A, B and C are or aren’t at the club next season, whoever is left need to pull their fingers out and put their heads together.
A new player doesn’t want to walk into a stressed-out, fragmented dressing room who won’t even acknowledge their fans after losing 2-0 to their bitterest rivals and who are kicking doors because they’ve been asked to pee in a cup.
Before new plays can start to believe that the club wants to turn things around, the existing personnel do.
In turn, the fans will respond.
Money money money
Whether we like to admit it or not, money makes the world, especially the football world, go round.
While I’m not suggesting for a second that Arsenal should be throwing £300kpw at every player who comes along, putting ourselves on a more even – albeit sustainable – playing field should make the player’s move to the club a little more ‘comfortable’ despite the lack of Champions League football.
A strong contract, a cohesive plan for the near future to propel this historical club back to the top with [insert top player’s name] playing a vital role…
How could they say no?