Raul Sanllehi has insisted they expect Unai Emery to qualify for the Champions League this year, after failing to do so last season.
Speaking at a fan forum event this week, Raul Sanllehi discussed the club’s targets for the season. The Gunners missed out on the top four by a point last campaign and made it to the Europa League final, falling embarrassingly at the last hurdle in both cases.
“We said to Unai that we just missed out on qualifying for the Champions League last year, but this year with a stronger squad, we expect you to do that,” Sanllehi said.
Football.London suggest this isn’t quite an ultimatum, as Arsenal are aware of the strength of the competition for top-four places. Still, it certainly sounds like Champions League qualification is going to be a big part of their decision as to whether Emery is the right coach to lead the club forward.
The Spaniard has a contract until the end of the season, with the option to extend for a further year. That puts Arsenal in a strong position to go in whichever direction they want, as Emery will have little say in whether he stays for an extra year or leaves.
Emery needs to make his case on the pitch now. It’s probably true that Champions League qualification alone won’t be the deciding factor, but failing to make the top four, failing to win any trophies for a second season and continued inconsistent performances would likely combine to see Arsenal making a change.
If the performances are good and the results aren’t quite there, maybe you give the head coach time. If the results are good but the performances need work, again, you might be more lenient.
If Arsenal fail to make it back to the elite European competition and aren’t playing like they deserve to be there anyway, two years in, it’s hard to think of a way to justify that situation.