Arsene Wenger has been warned by Arsenal legend Nigel Winterburn that he may miss out on landing world class players if the Gunners flop in the Champions League.
The north London outfit face a crucial first leg qualifying clash against Fenerbahce tonight in Istanbul and do so with a weak squad which has been hit by injuries.
Wenger’s dithering in the transfer market means he has yet to recruit a single top-notch player to the Emirates despite having pots of money to spend.
The Frenchman has assured fans the marquee players will be in place before the transfer window slams shut in a little under two weeks,
But Winterburn believes failure to make the Champions League proper will make a negative impact on his potential targets.
The former left-back said: “If they don’t get through to the Champions League, then they will have to look further down the pecking order at a different type of player. It’s a really frustrating time for Arsenal.
“I look at the squad at the moment and the squad is very, very thin. You are probably looking at a maximum of 17 players in that squad that could play regularly for Arsenal.
“He has got to bring players in, not just world class players, but we have got to bring players in to strengthen the whole squad because Arsenal are struggling with injuries. They really are short of numbers at the moment.”
Yet Winterburn, who won plenty of silverware in a 13-year spell with the Gunners during which he made 584 appearances, still believes his former club can progress against the Turks.
He added: “When Arsene Wenger has come under pressure and asked his team to deliver for him, they have delivered for him. Everybody jumped on the bandwagon at the weekend with the loss to Aston Villa, but there wasn’t a lot in the game.
“The players have got to regroup quickly, but they have got a good core of players. My belief is the squad needs to be strengthened, but I think they will have enough to get through, although it will be an intimidating atmosphere, that is for sure.”