Arsenal must repay fans £4.5million after Europa League humiliation
Arsenal could be forced to repay season-ticket holders a combined total of up to £4.5million as the club faces up to counting the cost of last night’s Europa League humiliation.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s acrobatic volley seven minutes from the end of extra-time appeared to have sealed a place in the last 32, only for Youssef El-Arabi to stun the home crowd with seconds remaining.
Incredibly, there was still time for the Arsenal skipper to spurn gilt-edged chance to rescue his side but he fired wide from the edge of the six-yard box with virtually the last kick of the tie.
All in all, defeat means Arsenal will not be involved in European competition beyond March for the first time since 1999 which represents a damaging blow both on and off the field.
According to the Evening Standard, season-ticked holders have already pre-paid for seven home cup fixtures this term, but should the Gunners lose at Portsmouth in the FA Cup on Monday, or be drawn away in a potential quarter-final, supporters will only have had the chance to attend a maximum of six games at the Emirates.
Arsenal currently have 46,000 season-ticket holders and given the average price of those tickets is around the £50 mark, the club faces a prospect of paying back a not insignificant sum.
Mikel Arteta was permitted to sign only two players on loan in January in Pablo Mari and Cedric Soares and a lack of European football next season could have significant ramifications in terms of his summer spend.
Aubameyang’s contract, meanwhile, expires in 18 months and missing out on Champions League qualification, allied to an increasingly bleak financial outlook, means Arsenal look to be facing an almost impossible task to keep their star player.
The emerging Bukayo Saka is also in a similar predicament and the teenager, who already has 10 assists in all competitions this season, is reportedly being monitored by a clutch of Premier League clubs.
Arsenal, according to The Sun, made £40m on their run to Baku and the Europa League final last season but have made just £15m during their eight European games this term.
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