THEIR dire finish to the Premier League last season and their failure to secure a lucrative place in the Champions League for the second year running has been seen by many as ominous for Arsenal.

The Emirates Stadium club are, in comparison with the likes of Chelsea, Liverpool, Manchester City, Manchester United at least, renowned for being frugal in the transfer market despite spending over £70 million on new players last summer.

How can they retain their position as one of the biggest clubs in England without their American owner Stan Kroenke loosening the purse strings or that invaluable income from Europe’s premier club competition?

Could Kieran Tierney, if he moves from Celtic to Arsenal in the coming days, find himself at a mid-table top flight outfit down south instead of one that challenges for the title and other major honours?

Or is reaching the Europa League final a taste of the better times that lie ahead under their Spanish manager Unai Emery, who replaced the long-serving Arsene Wenger last year, in the 2019/20 campaign and beyond?

Raul Sanllehi, their director of football, has moved away from an analytical approach to signing players to more traditional scouting-based recruitment since being appointed last year. Can Arsenal compete with rivals who are able to outspend them using that strategy? There is much uncertainty over what the future holds.

Yet, Kevin Gallacher, the former Scotland internationalist who was a player at Blackburn Rovers when the Ewood Park club won the English title in 1995 and now works as a co-commentator with BT Sport, is confident they can remain competitive in the Premier League.

What is more, he believes Tierney will be able to become a first team regular ahead of Spain defender Nacho Monreal and will respond positively to the style of football that former Valencia and Pris Saint-Germain manager Emery likes his team to play.

“Arsenal were so used to having Arsene Wenger there,” he said. “They have to give his replacement a chance and let him develop his own squad, his own team and implement his own ideas.

“Obviously, Arsenal fans always want to see their team qualify for the Champions League and get the financial rewards of that. But with a new manager coming in there was going to be change and the supporters have to be patient. Finishing fifth in the Premier League and reaching the Europa League final was a good return.”

Gallacher added: “I saw a fair bit of them last season and thought their style did change a little bit. They weren’t trying to walk the ball into the net as much. They were trying different strategies to attack and get that ball into the final third.

“But the players they have got are phenomenal. They have a fantastic squad, they just have to believe in each other and take it to the next level.

“I think you will see an improvement next season. Emery has been in there for a season, he understands the club, he understands the players and their qualities. All he needs is strength in depth and more consistency to get the team further up the table. He will know that and will be trying to bridge the gap.

“They have been in the top five for England for the last 25 years and are more than capable of staying there. It is a big ask for Arsenal to get the players who can help them do that. But I think Kieran Tierney would be a bargain.”

Gallacher is confident that Tierney, who has been the subject of two bids from Arsenal, will be able to establish himself as a first team player at the Emirates ahead of Monreal, who is now 33, if he moves to London.

“Kieran can definitely cope with a move to Arsenal,” he said. “He is a quality player. A team like Arsenal play football. I think it will suit Kieran and the way he plays – he is an attacking full-back. That is a strength of his. At the moment, they have got Monreal playing full-back. I think Kieran is a lot better than him.

“Arsenal scouts have obviously been watching him very closely over a period of time and their analysts have looked at different aspects of his play. They clearly believe he will fit in to the system that they play.

“If Kieran goes down there, stays patient and grasps his opportunity with both hands when he gets it then the sky is the limit for him. He isn’t stupid. He will have seen what Andy Robertson did at Liverpool. If he takes a leaf out of Andy’s book he will do well.”