When the full-time whistle went at the Emirates Stadium last night Arsenal were not just waving goodbye to their only remaining chance of silverware this season and a final opportunity to qualify for the Champions League but also eye-watering financial sums.
While the two-legged defeat to Villarreal only denied the Gunners €4.5m in prize money, beating Manchester United in the final and therefore qualifying for the Champions League would have been worth north of €40m before even factoring in progression from the group stage.
Based on this year’s figures Mikel Arteta’s team would have earned about €30m from UEFA’s broadcasting market pool and their coefficient ranking with that income topped up by every positive result (€2.7m per win, €900,000 per draw) and matchday income from a minimum of three home games.
At least a portion of that income would have been used towards strengthening the squad.
Arsenal, who sit ninth in the Premier League table, do maintain slim hopes of reaching the Europa League but are reliant upon teams above them dropping points in the remaining weeks of the campaign.
Even then the Europa League is worth pittance in comparison to the Champions League.
Chelsea and Manchester City will have both earned more than €100m from their run to the final of the premier competition, while Arsenal’s total for reaching the last four of the secondary tournament was worth about €16m.
Hungary’s Ferencvaros and Denmark’s Midtjylland made more despite their European campaigns being over before Christmas.
“Well we are devastated,” Mikel Arteta said at full-time of last night’s scoreless draw having lost 2-1 in the first leg. “We had so much enthusiasm and desire to be in that final.
“We know how much it meant to the club, to our fans, to ourselves, to be in that final and have the chance to be in the Champions League next season. It’s a huge blow.”