After a somewhat frustrating season of Arsenal struggling for consistency and results, Arsene Wenger has delivered the Gunners a huge ultimatum.
Step up, or you're out.
With the summer transfer window ahead, Wenger has given the players full notice that their performances over their remaining nine Premier League games will greatly determine how the club approaches the summer transfer window.
And which players they look to buy and/or sell.
Here's what Wenger had to say (via Sky Sports):
We have to analyse. What will decide our attitude, my attitude, is how we do now until the end of the season. We have had some blips that were not expected, Blackburn and Bradford, but overall I must say the attitude of the team has been great and when everyone is here (fit), then we have a strong team. What is important is to analyse where we can improve at the end of the season.
And the reality is that, whilst the comments from Wenger might come as a surprise, they are exactly what the under-perfoming Gunners need to hear right now.
Despite all their inconsistencies, offensive failures and defensive slip-ups, the North London club still find themselves without shouting distance of the top four. Regardless of what's happened in the year so far, they are only two points off the top four and have a great chance to close that gap.
Well, as long as they continue to play to their potential over the remaining nine weeks.
With big movement in the summer transfer window, Arsenal appeared primed to continue their strong run in the Premier League and UEFA Champions League. What followed was completely unexpected, with the Gunners just struggling to put it all together at times.
Arsenal just lacked the finishing and clinical nature that they possessed over the past few seasons.
Granted, the sale of Robin van Persie to Manchester United hadn't helped, but it was more than just one player. Arsenal, as a team, were struggling, and the results that they achieved (or didn't achieve) reflected their struggles as a team throughout 2013.
As a result, the kick or incentive from Wenger is completely justified.
And who knows, maybe it will come as somewhat as a turning point in the Gunners' season.
They already caught up three points this weekend since that quote on Chelsea. So, who knows what they could do with the added incentive of being transferred if they don't succeed.
We saw similar things earlier in the year with Olivier Giroud when he was struggling. The pressure for his first goal to come was starting to become frustrating, yet once the criticisms started to flow in for the Frenchman, then the goals started to flow in response.
Now Giroud is the Gunners' main striker and a dynamic force in attack.
With another trophy-less season beckoning for the North London club, Wenger's comments should spur the club on over the final nine games.
They have under-performed this year and have failed to build on their achievements last year despite a very fruitful summer transfer window.
However, if they can snare a top-four spot this year and keep themselves amongst the best in Europe, then the season won't have been a complete disaster or meaningless experience for the Gunners.
Also, getting that top-four spot—despite playing inconsistently—would set the club up for greater success over the 2013-14 season.
And Wenger's words might just be the catalyst to make that happen.
Will Arsenal finish in the Premier League's top four this year?
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