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Rory MarsdenFeatured ColumnistMarch 15, 2017

Arsenal players will reportedly lose millions of pounds worth of bonuses and could face potential pay cuts should they fail to qualify for next season’s UEFA Champions League.

The Gunners have not missed out on Europe’s top-tier competition since 1997, but they currently lie outside of the Premier League’s top four in fifth, five points back from fourth-placed Liverpool—but having played two games fewer.

Should they fail to break back into the top four before the end of the season and miss out on Champions League football, Arsenal’s players “will lose bonuses worth millions” and a few “could be forced to accept pay cuts,” according to the Daily Mail‘s Kieran Gill.

Arsenal have not really come close to winning a Premier League title at any time in the last decade, but they have invariably finished fairly comfortably inside the top four.

Premier League Table: Current Top Six
1 Chelsea 27 21 3 3 57 20 37 66
2 Tottenham Hotspur 27 16 8 3 53 20 33 56
3 Manchester City 27 17 5 5 53 29 24 56
4 Liverpool 28 16 7 5 60 35 25 55
5 Arsenal 26 15 5 6 55 31 24 50
6 Manchester United 26 13 10 3 39 22 17 49
Sky Sports

After a poor recent spell of form, though, in which Arsenal have lost three of their last four league games, Arsene Wenger’s side are in genuine danger of finishing fifth or lower this term. 

Not only do they face the challenge of catching Liverpool, but they also need to hold off sixth-placed Manchester United, who are just one point behind them. 

Qualification for the Champions League is incredibly lucrative for European clubs. Per Gill, Arsenal were awarded £46.7 million from UEFA for reaching the last 16 in 2015-16.

Per UEFA, clubs who made it to the group stages for the 2016-17 tournament received a base allocation of €12.7 million (£11.1 million), and last-16 participants all received another €6 million (£5.2 million).

As in the previous six years, Arsenal’s Champions League campaign in 2016-17 finished in the first knockout round, as they were humiliated 10-2 on aggregate by German giants Bayern Munich.

Given Arsenal’s ongoing propensity to go out of the Champions League at the last-16 stage, there may be some fans who feel they would be better off playing in the UEFA Europa League next season, as it is a competition they would be more likely to actually win.

But, given the prestige of the Champions League, the majority of those linked with Arsenal will be desperate that they return to the competition again next term.

And the fact that the players could miss out on a big pay day if they fail in their endeavour should motivate them to push again for a top four finish in 2016-17.   

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