Mikel Arteta’s grand three-year plan at Arsenal could be in jeopardy.
As revealed on Sunday night, the Gunners have confirmed themselves as one of the founding members of a new breakaway competition known as the European Super League.
Arsenal and 11 other European heavyweights have put the new format forward to rival to the UEFA Champions League, but not as a replacement to domestic leagues, namely the Premier League, La Liga or Serie A.
Therefore, competing in European football’s current elite competition will no longer be an option for the Gunners and fellow founding members Manchester United, Manchester City, Tottenham, Real Madrid, Barcelona, Atletico Madrid, Liverpool, Juventus, Chelsea, AC Milan and Inter Milan.
Thus presenting Arteta with a huge problem.
Upon signing Willian on a free transfer last summer, it was revealed that the Spaniard had a three-year plan which included Arsenal returning to the Champions League and also aiming to win it for the first time in their history.
“One of the reasons I wanted a three-year deal was to be part of a plan, not just a player passing through,” the Brazilian said, as per Sky Sports. “When I talked with the manager he told me why he needed me for three years.
“It was that he first wanted to qualify for the Champions League and win it by the time I left.
“That was what I wanted to hear.
“I was at Chelsea for seven years and won everything except the Champions League. Hopefully, this move will give me the trophy I haven’t got as well as another Premier League title.”
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Willian will have to wait at least another year before thinking about another Premier League title as Arsenal find themselves in ninth place and almost 30 points behind leaders Manchester City.
Furthermore, they are nine points off the Champions League places and their only chance of sealing a return to the competition is to lift the Europa League trophy in May.
But even if they do, all signs are pointing towards Arsenal participating in the European Super League rather than the Champions League next season, meaning Arteta’s three-year plan is at risk of failing.