Mikel Arteta has been told Arsenal “belong in the Champions League” – and must get back among Europe’s elite.
Arsenal chief executive Vinai Venkatesham has also warned that it is “absolutely critical” for the fans to get back into the stadium with the club losing at least £2m-a-game in gate receipts even before commercial deals and sales.
The multi-million pound losses in the wake of the coronavirus has made it even more important for Arsenal boss Arteta to guide the club back into the top four because of the rich rewards on offer.
Venkatesham said: “We need to get Arsenal back as a Champions League club. That’s where this belongs in my opinion. That has to be the ambition.
"It is important economically, it is important for fans, it is important for players, staff and everybody.
“It can’t be the final destination because obviously we want to get back in the mix competing for the Premier League. But if you miss out on European qualification you have to cut your cloth accordingly.
“But if we want to achieve what we need to achieve going back to the ambitions point then we need to get back to being a Champions League club.
"Yes it is important economically. But it is also what the fans want.”
Arsenal had a proud record of qualifying for the Champions League 19 years in a row, are stuck in the Europa League for a fourth season running and are now also counting the cost of having to play behind closed doors.
That has hit the club hard after having to make 55 redundancies, they are desperate to get fans back into the Emirates and Venkatesham is keen from both a financial point of view and for the supporters that everything is done to help them return.
Venkatesham said: “It is absolutely critical. The fans are the energy and fuel behind the club. They are the ones who lift the players and lift everything. At the heart of any club is the fans and delivering back to fans.
“I would hope that within a Premier League ground and within grounds across the pyramid that we can find a solution that would get fans back into the stadium in a safe way.
“We could know the names and addresses of everyone in the stadium, they can self certify, check temperatures, social distance them, arrive earlier and leave later, it is predominantly an outdoor rather than indoor environment.”
Venkatesham outlined further changes within the club as his title has now changed from managing director to chief executive, Arteta has gone from being head coach to first team manager and technical director Edu is charged with continuing the squad shake-up.
Edu has insisted it is a “very tough market” as Arsenal prepare to announce a new three year deal for Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and they are still on the hunt for a new midfielder even though they are struggling to offload Mesut Ozil and Matteo Guendouzi.
But Venkatesham has denied accusations that they are too closely aligned with super-agent Kia Joorabchian who has been involved in a string of deals including Willian, David Luiz and Cedric Soares.
Venkatesham added: “I see, read and absorb a lot of what is being said about how we work with agents. We don’t select players based on the identity of their agent.
“We select players based on the position we need to strengthen and the characteristics we are looking for in a player and if the player is out there who meets those characteristics.
“Who the agent is comes out at the end, once we have decided who the player is.
"We are not signing players based on the identity of the agent. That would be a crazy strategy.”
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