Mikel Arteta challenged Arsenal to invest in improving its roster if they want to return to the Champions League.

Asked how much more difficult Champions League qualification would be with each year out of the competition, he outlined the quandary Arsenal face. “Harder and harder, because that’s obviously something that has to feed each other,” he said. “If you are not in the Champions League and you say: ‘OK, I don’t invest because I don’t have the financial ability to do it,’ but the other clubs invest, then the gap becomes bigger. If I do want to invest and risk, and then I don’t reach it, what happens? So at some stage you have to make a decision: whether I want to aim to make that gap closer and go for it, or I stay where I am.”

Arteta believes Arsenal can attract top-quality players if they spend.

“We’ve an incredible history, an incredible structure, in a beautiful city and a style of play that attracts players,” he said. “And I’m telling you now, because I am closer to the market now – when I speak to people, a lot of players want to play for Arsenal.”

Missing out on the Champions League is thought to have cost Arenal approximately £100 million over the past few seasons and that figure will increase substantially now.

“What we need to do at the end of the season is see the direction we want to take, agree on the ambition of the football club, realize that where we are the demands are going to be huge – that’s never going to change because it’s linked to our history and our success – and move from there,” he said.