In an attempt to stop the decline, Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta wants better players.
In a sign that he will be in the dugout next season, the boss expects to be backed by owner Stan Kroenke this summer.
“The team needs to change,” he said ahead of Arsenal’s game against West Brom on Sunday, nodding when asked if his bosses had pledged funds to make the changes.
“There were already a lot of changes in December, which hasn’t been done in years, but it tells us where we were. Things are going to have to change and the owners are going to support it. “
Last season, Arteta signed Willian for free, then nabbed Thomas Partey, but also saw continued onboarding of young players like Emile Smith Rowe and Bukayo Saka.
In addition, he got rid of Mesut Ozil, Sokratis, Sead Kolasinac and Shkodran Mustafi.
But he sees his side tenth in the Premier League with four games to go and set to miss European football for the first time since 1996.
Despite a lot of talk following this European exit focused on Arteta’s future, he still sees himself managing among the elite.
Arsenal also crashed against Villarreal in the Europa League semi-finals – their best chance to qualify for Europe.
“We’ve known what’s been going on inside here for 18 months,” he said. “We know. We only know who’s here. The way we’ve built this is amazing.”
However, he now sees it as an opportunity to reverse what he calls a tendency to lose ground to rivals.
“Time is running out right now,” he said.
“It’s a trend, it’s been happening for years now. If the distance and the margins with the rest become too large, it is almost impossible to do so. We are always on time and we have laid very solid pillars and foundations over the past few months to do what we have to do.
Arteta’s comments come days after talkSPORT learned that a big investment in the team was needed or that it was suffering the consequences.
Norwich’s Emi Buendia and Brighton’s Yves Bissouma are two players linked to the club in recent weeks and the latter has even reportedly asked to leave.
“This team now needs a minimum of £ 150million to get us back into the top four,” former player Perry Groves said.
“Yes [the owners] won’t invest the money, so we’re going to languish in the darkness of the middle of the table and look down rather than up.
“The question mark with the owners will be, you said the right things by supporting the manager and are you going to sell?”