Robert Pires reckons Arsenal’s only hope of reaching the Champions League next season is by winning the Europa League this campaign.
The Gunners, who sit sixth, are well off the pace in the Premier League as they trail leaders Manchester City by 27 points, while they are eight points adrift of fourth-placed side Chelsea.
And with Arsene Wenger and his side facing an uphill battle to finish fourth, Pires thinks their best chance of playing in the Champions League next season will come through winning the Europa League.
“The Europa League has to be Arsenal’s priority now, already,” Pires told The Sun.
“The objective has to be to do what Manchester United did last season – they are a good example.
“United won the Europa League and went straight into the Champions League – for Arsenal it is very important to get this state of mind.
“It’s a trophy, a good trophy, so it’s very important. And this season it is the last opportunity Arsenal have of making the Champions League.
“Unfortunately, but if you see the table it’s very difficult for Arsenal to reach the top four.
“I want to see Arsenal playing again in the Champions League. But it is very difficult with Tottenham, Liverpool and Chelsea all above them.”
The Gunners face Ostersunds on Thursday in the second leg of their last-32 tie with Wenger’s men leading 3-0 on aggregate from the away leg.