Arsenal could reportedly be forced into selling rising star Bukayo Saka in the summer if they fail to qualify for the UEFA Champions League.
According to a report from The Times, Arsenal could face the prospect of selling some of their top players in the summer transfer window if they do not qualify for the UEFA Champions League. And, among those players who the Gunners could lose is teenage sensation Bukayo Saka.
A product of the Arsenal academy, Saka made his first-team debut for the Gunners at the age of 17 under former manager Unai Emery back in November 2018 and has not looked back since. Steadily growing into an important first-team member, the 19-year-old has been one of Arsenal’s top performers this term and has also broken into the England national team.
Saka has already made 77 appearances for the north London giants, producing a return of 10 goals and 18 assists. 13 of those goal involvements (6G, 7A) have come in his 35 appearances in the 2020/21 campaign where he has been one of the few bright spots in Mikel Arteta’s side.
However, Arsenal are facing the threat of having to offload the teenage sensation in the summer transfer window, if they miss out on Champions League football once again next season. The Gunners have not qualified for Europe’s premier club competition for four seasons in a row now, missing out on £160 million over five years.
The club’s finances have been further hit by the pandemic, given as a quarter of their income is generated from matchday revenue. The report adds that Arsenal have announced a loss of £47.8 million for the financial year and could stand to lose up to £150 million over the course of the season.
Arsenal have also taken out a £120 million short-term loan from the government, repayable in May, although it could be rolled over to next year. In essence, the Gunners are not in the most comfortable situation financially and getting back into Champions League becomes imperative ahead of the summer transfer window.
As things stand, Arsenal are ninth in the Premier League table, nine points off of Chelsea in fourth place, with the top four route to the Champions League looking unlikely. However, they are still alive in the UEFA Europa League and winning that trophy could pave the way for them to return to the top competition.
Missing out on qualification would spell trouble for the club as they may be forced into cashing on young assets such as Saka – a player that Arteta is desperate to hold on to, along with the likes of Gabriel Martinelli, Emile Smith Rowe, Kieran Tierney and Thomas Partey.
There are some exits pretty much guaranteed to happen, with on-loan players such as Sead Kolasinac, Lucas Torreira, Matteo Guendouzi and Ainsley Maitland-Niles, who is on Leicester City’s radar, set to be sold.
In addition, there could be some high-profile sales as well, with Hector Bellerin, as well as captain Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang staring at uncertain futures. And Saka, too, could potentially join the ones headed for the exit doors.