Unai Emery conceded that Arsenal’s prospects in the transfer market may have suffered a blow following their 4-1 Europa League final defeat to Chelsea.
After finishing a point outside of the Premier League top-four, Arsenal travelled to Baku needing to beat Chelsea in the Europa League final on Wednesday to secure Champions League qualification.
But the Gunners were handed a humbling 4-1 defeat at the hands of their London rivals.
Therefore, Emery’s side will once again have to contend with the Europa League next season. While Lyon qualify for the Champions League instead as a result of their third-place finish in Ligue 1.
It will now be the third season in a row Arsenal will not be in Europe’s top-tier club. competition.
Their transfer budget for the summer will also take a hit, with rumours suggesting it could be as low as £40m (€45m) compared to a possible £100m (€113m) had they won the Europa League.
“Maybe, but I think we are a big team. I think Arsenal is a big name in the world of football,” said Emery on Arsenal.com, when asked if their transfer prospects suffered a blow.
“A lot of players want to play here. We are in one process and we need, in this process, to be strong in our idea, to be strong in our way. It’s the reason we started this season.
“The idea was to get more competitive like a team, be closer to other teams, and we did that. At the moment, it’s not enough for our target, but the next week and next year that idea will continue in our minds.
“I don’t know our targets for next year, but the club is working to improve and do everything in our way. We have a lot of players who have the possibility to improve and grow up with us.
“For example, we have given a lot of youngsters their first experience of a final. I am positive for our future, creating our way with young players who are getting better in our way.”
In the space of 23 second-half minutes, Arsenal conceded four goals to Chelsea through Olivier Giroud, Pedro and Eden Hazard’s double.
Alex Iwobi had found the net for his sixth goal of the season to put the Gunners within two goals of Chelsea. In the end, though, it proved to be nothing more than a mere consolation.
Despite the setback, however, Emery was satisfied with the progress of his team and set them a target of taking another step forward next term.
“We are in our process. I want to say to all the supporters that we are in a process,” said the Arsenal coach.
“We didn’t achieve our first target this year, but we are closer to them in the Premier League and secondly in this competition, playing in the final.
“Next year is a big challenge to take another step in our way, with our young players and the spirit. We are really disappointed today but, in general, we made a new step in improving and being competitive. We made one more step than last year.”