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Finishing fifth would not stop Chelsea overtaking their rivals again next season

Nabbing a Champions League place is far more important to Tottenham Hotspur and Arsenal, with Chelsea likely able to sign their targets this summer regardless of where they finish.

As the race for Champions league football inches closer to its undoubtedly dramatic conclusion, it is easy to get caught up in the idea that each of Tottenham Hotspur, Chelsea and Arsenal require the boost of European football's top competition equally if they are to progress next season.

However the reality is that however the three teams finish, Chelsea will likely surpass their London rivals comfortably next year, as the biggest factor in developing a club remains money. The Champions League makes a big difference in that regard of course, but not nearly enough to bridge the gap between Spurs, Arsenal and Chelsea in the transfer market.

Andre Schurrle is already on his way to Stamford Bridge, with Jose Mourinho and Radamel Falcao likely to follow. Even if one or both of these two were to change their mind because Chelsea finish fifth, there would be plenty of other options for the Blues to turn to.

They already have an excellent squad, and if they can find a defensive midfielder to screen their back four, and a striker to complement the dazzling skill of Juan Mata and Eden Hazard, it is impossible to suggest they will start next season with a weaker squad than Spurs or Arsenal. If Chelsea were to finish fifth, all it might mean is that they are directly in opposition to Arsenal and Spurs in the market, a contest they would likely win whatever European competition they are in.

For Tottenham Hotspur and Arsenal, qualifying for Champions League football will not presage a huge spending spree this summer, as both have tight financial models built around steady growth and low (if even existent) net spend. It is easy to get carried away with the notion that the battle for Champions League places will indicate a shift in power of seismic proportions, but when the dust settles in the summer, Chelsea will be in the best position to develop their club come what may, and it would be surprising if they were not more involved in a title race next season.

images: © Free-ers, © Crystian Cruz

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