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Arsenal keen on Champions League clause

Arsenal will encourage new signings to agree a contract clause which allows for their pay to be reduced should the club fail to qualify for the Champions League.

• Blog: Time to accelerate

Arsene Wenger has overseen an impressive 16 consecutive qualifications during his time as Arsenal boss, but with fierce competition in the Premier League their place at Europe's top table is no longer assured.

An Arsenal spokesman played down the impact of a clause and claimed it was "normal practice" for players to have performance related clauses 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," he said.

Young stars Jack Wilshere, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Kieran Gibbs and Carl Jenkinson are among the first players to be affected with long-term contract talks already in place or beginning soon. Bacary Sagna and Theo Walcott also have contract negotations ongoing.

The move will be unpopular by many of the club's supporters who are already planning a protest march before Saturday's home game with Swansea about the way the club is being run.

Arsenal recently announced a new £150 million deal with Emirates which includes shirt sponsorship and stadium naming rights, but a move to safeguard against a top four finish may be viewed as another admission of lack of ambition by the club's hierarchy.

At the club's AGM in October chief executive Ivan Gazidis backed Arsenal's ability to challenge Europe's elite clubs within two years.

He said: "In the next two years, we will have the financial resources to sit and compete among the leading clubs in the world, which is an extraordinary achievement."

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