Arsenal face struggle to keep Bukayo Saka without Champions League qualification

Krishan Davis
Saka has never played in the Champions League
Saka has never played in the Champions League / MB Media/GettyImages

Arsenal could struggle to convince Bukayo Saka to sign a new contract at the Emirates Stadium should they fail to qualify for next season's Champions League.

Having occupied fourth place in the Premier League for much of the season, the Gunners have slipped to sixth courtesy of a sharp downturn in form that has also seen them exit the FA Cup and Carabao Cup.

Mikel Arteta's side do have games in hand on Manchester United and West Ham above them, but there is of course no guarantee they will collect maximum points.

According to the Daily Mail, Arsenal are keen to continue their squad overhaul following their impressive business last summer and the raft of outgoings in January, and a new contract for Saka forms a part of that.

New signings such as Aaron Ramsdale, Ben White and Takehiro Tomiyasu have shone, while the north Londoners have shifted multiple unwanted fringe players either on loan or permanently over the past seven months, as well as former captain Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, who had lost the trust of Arteta after one disciplinary breach too many and left for Barcelona in January.

Arsenal want to bring in a two new strikers, a centre-midfielder and a covering right-back for Tomiyasu, as well as extending Saka's current deal which expires in 2024.

However, Saka's willingness to pen fresh terms - as well as the success of Arsenal's overall transfer business - may well hinge on whether or not they qualify for next season's Champions League.

Arsenal are planning to offer the 20-year-old a significant pay rise, but it is said that money will not be a deciding factor in his future.

Liverpool and both Manchester clubs have been linked with the England international, who has arguably been the Gunners' most consistent performer since Arteta took the reins in 2019.

Arsenal missed out on a number of transfer targets in January - including Dusan Vlahovic and Bruno Guimaraes - and it seems it may take a top four place for them to avoid a repeat in the summer.