Mikel Arteta faces a “massive job” to keep the Arsenal squad happy without European football next season.
That is according to former Leeds striker Noel Whelan who, speaking exclusively to Football Insider, suggested the Gunners had lost their “bargaining tool” ahead of the summer.
Arsenal saw their hopes of Europa League glory come to an end on Thursday with a 2-1 aggregate defeat to Villareal.
Villarreal progress, as we are eliminated at the semi-final stage.
— Arsenal (@Arsenal) May 6, 2021
As such, the north Londoners are on the brink of going without European football for the first time since the 1995/96 season.
Arteta’s men sit seven points off the top six with four games to play.
However, the likes of Everton and Liverpool have a game in hand over the Gunners.
Whelan insisted the Spanish boss was facing the prospect of an unhappy dressing room this summer.
Asked if he thought the Gunners could lose some of their stars this summer, Whelan told Football Insider’s Russell Edge: “Yeah. Absolutely. Top players play in top competitions and they’re not in it.
“Getting in Europe was probably their bargaining tool to try and keep these big stars at a club. It’s not there so they’re gonna have a massive job to keep these big star players happy.
That’s very difficult because these players want to be playing in top competitions. They deserve to be playing in top competitions. This season they’ve shown that they’re absolutely way off representing Arsenal in the Champions League.
“They need a really serious overhaul there and adding some quality. They’re not going to get that now because they’re not going to tempt these players to Arsenal.”
Loanees Dani Ceballos, Mat Ryan and Martin Odegaard are all set to leave this summer unless their deals are extended.
David Luiz could also be on the move when his contract expires at the end of the season.
Meanwhile, the likes of Alexandre Lacazette, Calum Chambers and Mohamed Elneny are all heading into the final year of their deals.
In other news, Arteta may be sacked by Arsenal after “ludicrous” decisions.