Arsenal need Champions League – Wenger








18 August 2014
Last updated at
09:09













Arsenal must beat Besiktas to earn a place in the Champions League group stage, “no matter what it costs”, says manager Arsene Wenger.

The Gunners, who have reached the group stage for the last 16 seasons, travel to Turkey for Tuesday’s first leg, with the home leg on Wednesday, 27 August.

“We’re desperate to go through. We want to play in the Champions League we know how big these games are,” said Wenger.

Arsenal defenders Laurent Koscielny and Kieran Gibbs face fitness tests.

That could mean an earlier than expected recall for Per Mertesacker, who returned late for pre-season training after captaining Germany to World Cup success.

Wenger confirmed: “It was our plan to bring the Germans back in contention for Everton [on Saturday], but in case of emergency I will take Mertesacker.

“It is a bit early for him. Ideally we would need one more week preparation, but he is willing to play, no problem.”

Arsenal

beat Crystal Palace 2-1

in their opening Premier League game of the season on Saturday before flying out to Istabnul.

They will face Slaven Bilic’s side at the 72,000-capacity Ataturk Olympic Stadium, where Liverpool beat AC Milan in the 2005 Champions League final, as Besiktas’s Vodafone Arena is being redeveloped.

Besiktas, runners-up in last season’s Turkish championship defeated Dutch side Feyenoord 5-2 on aggregate in the third round of qualifying, with former Chelsea striker Demba Ba scoring a hat-trick in the second leg.

Arsenal

defeated another Turkish club, Fenerbahce,

at the same stage last season.







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Arsenal await Champions League draw








7 August 2014
Last updated at
14:54













Arsenal could face Spanish side Athletic Bilbao in Friday’s draw for the play-off round to reach this season’s Champions League group stage.

The Gunners are one of five teams entering at this stage and join the five winners from the non-champions section of the third qualifying round.

Athletic Bilbao knocked

Manchester United out of the Europa League

at last-16 stage in 2011-12.

The two-legged ties will be played on 19-20 and 26-27 August.

Arsenal, who finished fourth in last season’s Premier League, will be seeded for the draw, which takes place at 11:00 BST.

Athletic Bilbao, who were fourth in La Liga, were also seeded until Russian side Zenit St Peterburg – who have a higher co-efficient – beat Cypriot side Limassol in the third qualifying round.

The other unseeded teams Arsenal could face are FC Copenhagen (Denmark), Lille (France), Besiktas (Turkey) and Standard Liege (Belgium).

The Gunners have appeared in the group stages of the Champions League for the past 14 seasons and

beat Turkish side Fenerbahce

5-0 on aggregate in last year’s play-offs. They were eventually knocked out at the last-16 stage by Bayern Munich.

Polish champions Legia Warsaw, who

knocked Celtic out in the third qualifying round 6-1 on aggregate,

are among the sides in the champions section of the draw.







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Champions League warning for Man Utd








31 July 2014
Last updated at
12:37














Manchester United’s

world record £750m kit deal with Adidas

will be cut by 30% if they fail to qualify for the Champions League in consecutive seasons from 2015-16.

The German sportswear giant could also cancel the contract if the club get relegated from the Premier League.

United failed to qualify for any of the European competitions this season after finishing seventh in 2013-14.

They will want a big improvement under new manager Louis van Gaal, 62.

Van Gaal was

appointed Red Devils boss

as successor to David Moyes earlier this summer.

Details of the deal with Adidas, which was announced earlier this month, emerged after

United offered more of their shares on the New York Stock Exchange.

United announced on Wednesday that they would sell eight million shares, around 5% of the business, after selling 10% in 2012.

About $ 150m (£88.7m) will be raised with money going to the Glazer family, the club’s US owners.

United have also been warned that interest rates on part of their £351.7m debt may rise.

A prospectus reveals that the deal with Adidas features a number of conditions.

Failure to qualify for the Champions League in consecutive seasons from 2015-16, when the contract begins, would see payments cut by nearly one third.

However, United could benefit from an extra £4m per year they win the Premier League, Champions League or FA Cup.

Should the club be relegated from the Premier League, the manufacturer can give 12 months’ notice to terminate the contract and reduce payments in half for every season spent outside the top flight.

The shares offering comes two months after the death of owner Malcolm Glazer. His six children control the club and will retain more than an 80% stake.

In 2005,

the Glazer family paid £790m for United,

borrowing £500m and paying the remaining £272m in cash.







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