After 18 consecutive top-four Premier League finishes, former England international striker Michael Owen believes that 2014-15 is the season when Arsenal’s run will come to an end.
Optimism at the Emirates Stadium is high, following the £32 million signing of Barcelona forward and World Cup star Alexis Sanchez, as well as rumours of more high-profile arrivals, but Owen maintains that the Chilean’s impact will not be enough to secure the club a Champions League place.
‘The signing of Sanchez has made everyone sit up and take note. I really do rate him. He's a top player and it's a big step in the right direction,’ he told talkSPORT.
‘But in in no particular order, my top four for next season would be Chelsea, Manchester City, Manchester United and Liverpool.
‘Arsenal haven’t had any real standout players in the last few years, like Thierry Henry. They have just lagged a step behind the others.’
With their rivals all strengthening this summer, Arsenal could well need additional reinforcements besides Sanchez, although a reported £20m move for Real Madrid’s Sami Khedira would prove a big boost, if the club can get past the midfielder’s large wage demands.
Also set to add Newcastle United’s Mathieu Debuchy for £9m, as well as being close to deals for Colombian goalkeeper David Ospina and Atletico Madrid's Javi Manquillo, the Gunners are no doubt making strides to improve their squad, but whether it will be enough clinch a top- four place, let alone mount a title challenge, remains to be seen.