Not only has it hurt their financial resources with which to reach the competition’s group stages once again, but it is also potentially damaging their prospects of luring would-be reinforcements to the same end.
Those circumstances will be even trickier for Arsenal to take with the club in need for a central defender regardless – that’s if Unai Emery decides to recruit in the area that arguably cost The Gunners a top-four position last season.
So despite reported efforts to build for the future in that area, it will be just as irritating that opportunities to instantly strengthen the squad with experienced signings are also passing them by – even when the price is right. But Diego Godin’s transfer to Inter Milan may have been just that opportunity.
Undergoing a rebuild of their own under new boss Antonio Conte, one would think Arsenal would be all over a transfer for the price (or lack of one) and the experience that the 33-year-old will be bringing to the San Siro.
If Arsenal’s continued participation in the Europa League is prolonged any further, not being able to make the most of opportunities like this could become the norm should prospective bargains such as Godin understandably opt for Champions League football over experiencing the Premier League.
As a league winner and two-time Champions League finalist, Godin would have brought a fresh solidity to Arsenal, giving the backline a sterner, more fearsome look about it.
He may not have been able to lower the average age of the Gunners defence, being only a few months younger than Laurent Koscielny, but Arsenal’s need for results is imperative if they are to haul themselves back into the Champions League before they are left in the wake of their rivals.
A quick fix – for free – would be a godsend for the team, and arriving from an Atletico Madrid side known for not conceding goals would’ve seen Godin surely shore up a defence that leaked 51 in the league last season.
With the margins between success and failure in the league last season so fine, you’d imagine the addition of Godin could have made all the difference.
But as the chance to sign a top-level international defender for nothing slips through their hands, Arsenal may come to rue their prior shortcomings while their defence remains as weak as when it contributed to their downfall last season.