Arsenal caught in the middle by their fourth placed finish?

Finishing fourth should have helped Arsenal sign new players this summer, but has it actually impeded them instead?

Qualifying for the Champions League is quite rightly an end in itself, with the chance to compete in Europe's premier competition something that most players aspire to.

And in addition to the glory of playing against the best teams on the continent, the benefits that come along with qualification, including major financial bonuses and the ability to tempt players of a higher calibre into joining your club, are also valuable.

This summer, however, Arsenal do not seem to have reaped the benefits of finishing fourth and qualifying for the play-off round of the Champions League, and there might even be a case for saying their transfer business has been hindered by their success last season.

There are always players who will only consider moves to Champions League teams, but they are in short supply this summer and the addition of financial powerhouses in France and Russia to the market has left fewer of them for Arsenal to target.

The one player on their hit list who might be convinced to join thanks to their Champions League status is Luis Suarez, and Liverpool have so far rebuffed any approach from Arsenal despite the striker being keen on a move.

In their desire to compete for the very best players, they have been dragged into transfer sagas they have little chance of success in, with players like Gonzalo Higuain and Stevan Jovetic moving elsewhere.

Without a Champions League place, would they have been prepared to move quickly and decisively for lower profile players who could still have improved their team, as their rivals Tottenham Hotspur have been able to do despite missing out on fourth spot?

Arsenal also might have to play a waiting game in the transfer market as they have not yet confirmed a Champions League place, with their play-off matches still to come. If they have to wait until after those games they will have little time to complete deals, and will be dealing with sides unwilling to let their best players go so without being able to find replacements.

It could still all come good for Arsenal if they complete a late move for Suarez, but given their lack of action so far this summer, has qualification for the Champions League helped them or hindered them in the transfer market?

image: © El Ronzo

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