Arsenal could have squandered Ilkay Gundogan transfer opportunity with Newcastle disaster

In pictures: Newcastle v Arsenal

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Arsenal could have squandered a prime opportunity to pursue an exciting deal for wantaway Manchester City midfielder Ilkay Gundogdan this summer. The Gunners’ dreadful 2-0 defeat at Newcastle United on Monday all but ended their hopes of Champions League football next season.

Arsenal looked uninspired and out of ideas at St. James’ Park just days after slumping to a 3-0 thumping at the hands of their top-four rivals Tottenham Hotspur. Mikel Arteta’s side must now beat Everton and hope Norwich City can produce a shock win against Spurs on Sunday.

Regardless of the Gunners’ European status next season, they reportedly plan to heavily invest in their playing squad again this summer. And among the profile of players Arteta is pursuing is a new midfielder, with Youri Tielemans and Ruben Neves understood to be on his radar.

And according to transfer expert Fabrizio Romano, Arsenal are also interested in Gundogan ahead of his expected Man City departure at the end of the season. The 31-year-old is in talks with the Premier League leaders about leaving to become a regular starter elsewhere, with Barcelona and Bundesliga clubs joining Arsenal as suitors.

JUST IN: Arsenal to back Arteta with ‘heavy’ investment despite CL failure

However, the report states that the Gunners’ hopes depend on Champions League football. And after surrendering control in the top-four race on Tyneside on Monday, Spurs avoiding defeat at rock-bottom Norwich on the final day would likely dash their hopes of signing Gundogan.

Arsenal have gone from Champions League stalwarts during the Arsene Wenger era to strangers to Europe’s elite competition. If they fail to break into the top four this Sunday, the Gunners will endure a sixth successive season without that iconic theme under the floodlights at the Emirates Stadium.

But Arteta will be determined to end the drought next term after committing his future to the club by penning a new contract this year. And Arsenal are ready to heavily back the Spaniard in the summer transfer market again after spending more than any other Premier League club ahead of the campaign.

As well as a midfielder, Arteta is set to prioritise attacking reinforcements ahead of Alexandre Lacazette and Eddie Nketiah’s impending exits when their contracts expire in June. But with Tottenham impressing under Antonio Conte and Manchester United almost certain to improve with Erik ten Hag at the helm, Arsenal could have missed a glorious chance in the run-in.

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