Is Gazidis right - how vital is Champions League football?

By Avenell Dave

Whatever anyone says, it's too early to write Arsenal off.

Is the title beyond us?

I think we all realise that the most important thing for Arsenal right now is to get some momentum going, start working our way up the table and building confidence so that any setbacks don't hinder the team in the long term.

Of course, Citeh, M#nure and Ch*vski are all strong teams with strong squads and seeing them have a run like the one we're currently in is a bit much to expect.

But the recent comments by Ivan Gazidis that we don't have to reach the Champions League and that spending is not the answer concern me.

Yes, we have good youngsters in Jack Wilshere and Kieran Gibbs, plus Chuks Aneke and Benik Afobe coming through who will hopefully bolster our homegrown offering.

But good players become better players when they have to raise their standards and when the more senior players in the squad lead by example.

You only have to read what Jack says about what he learnt from Cesc Fabregas or what others learnt from Dennis Bergkamp or Patrick Vieira to see how young players get value from guidance.

But the comments from Gazidis hint at other things - perhaps not what he intended - that raise concerns for me.

Arsenal moved into the Emirates stadium to help them compete with the world's biggest teams.

Even the likes of Barca, who won everything, Real Madrid or domestic champions M#nure spent big to ensure they maintain their competitiveness.

We cannot simply expect to be able to compete by doing bargain deals and last minute trolley dashes.

Are Park or Chamakh going to be able to score 20 goals a season if RvP gets his annual injury?

I have sleepless nights when I think of how RvP used to be one of three decent strikers when we had TH14 and DB10. Now he is the only decent forward in the first team squad.

And if we do fall behind and fail to reach the Champions League, we will find ourselves falling further and further behind unless we spend on quality.

While we have a name and a good reputation in Europe, we don't have the European Cup/Champions League titles that say, Liverpool, can dine out on.

They've missed out in the last couple of seasons and have spent more than £100m to try and get back in.

Six into four doesn't go if you include T#tt#nh*m in that equation.

But what does it say about Arsenal's ambition that finishing as high up as possible is being talked about as not essential by our chief executive?

I appreciate that expecting a wealthy benefactor to invest in the team is not Arsenal's philosophy, nor is it appropriate given the new FFP rules (when will Uefa investigate Citeh's crazy training ground cash injection deal?).

But surely, when fans and players are wondering whether this is the end of an era for Arsenal, the club should be more positive.

This is the time for fighting talk, optimism and a determination to put things right.