Alexander Hleb says Arsenal not qualifying for the Champions League next year would be ‘like a tragedy’, so he hopes Arsene Wenger’s side can win the Europa League.
The former Gunner was speaking to the BBC‘s 5live Breakfast show on Thursday morning. He told them he thinks it’s very important that a club like Arsenal gets back into the top European competition.
“I cannot imagine Arsenal not (being) in the Champions League – this, for me, would be like a tragedy,” he said. “I hope Arsenal win the Europa League, because Champions League for such a big club like Arsenal – this is so important.”
Unsurprisingly, the BBC also asked Hleb whether he thought Wenger was still the right man for the job at Arsenal. The 36-year-old backed the current boss, and pointed to Manchester United to show how things could go wrong when the 68-year-old leaves.
“For me, yes,” he said. “Arsene Wenger had a lot of problems last year. Some leaders (in the team) want always, every year, to leave. And he always built a new team. He works with players who want to play for Arsenal, who are happy there. And every year this is difficult to build.
“I hope and I feel he is still the best for Arsenal. Because look what happened with Manchester United when Alex Ferguson left. This is a few years after the catastrophe. This is not anymore the Manchester United when Alex Ferguson worked there. That’s why I think Arsene Wenger is still the best.”
It’s certainly very important that Arsenal win the Europa League this season. With six games left in the Premier League, the team are way too far behind the top four to catch up.
Winning in Europe is therefore the only way to get into next season’s Champions League. Perhaps just as importantly, it’s the only way to add some silverware to the current haul of one Community Shield.
If they can’t manage that, Wenger’s future may be decided for him, whether Hleb likes it or not. We’ll have to wait and see what happens though, starting with Thursday night’s quarter-final second-leg.