Arsenal has started negotiations to get their core of young English players committed to new long-term contracts, but the deals will involve reduced payments if the club fail to qualify for the Champions League.
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Kieran Gibbs, Carl Jenkinson and Jack Wilshere have or will soon be offered long-term deals in an attempt to avoid the difficulties of recent -seasons when prominent players have been able to run their contracts down.
The new contracts, however, will be incentive-driven in a way that will also help to protect Arsenal against their potential failure to reach the Champions League, something that has consistently been worth around 30 million pounds annually.
Arsenal have qualified for the Champions League in all of Wenger's 16 years as manager, but are seventh and seemingly facing a battle with West Bromwich Albion, Chelsea, Tottenham Hotspurs and Everton for the remaining two places after Manchester United and City.
The decision to tie the full potential of the new contracts to the Champions League could be interpreted either as an acceptance of the increasing threat to their status among Europe's elite clubs or just simply sound business sense.
An Arsenal spokesman stressed on Thursday night that it was normal practice for players to have clauses that were linked to the club's success both domestically and in Europe.
"Each player has an individual contract that contains elements of performance- related payments, which are linked to a player's individual contribution and also to the club's progress in both domestic and European competitions," the Telegraph quoted the spokesman, as saying
The move to tie Wilshere, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Gibbs and Jenkinson to longer-term deals is all part of an attempt by Arsene Wenger,
Arsenal's manager, to construct a squad that can be stabilized by the presence of young British players. (ANI)