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Arsenal Admit To Cost Of No Champions League Football

Arsenal supremo Vinai Venkatesham admits the failure to secure Champions League football for two consecutive seasons has cost the club ‘tens of millions of pounds’.

But the Gunners managing director is backing Unai Emery to fire the club back among Europe’s elite this season.

The Gunners are hoping to regain their place back in European football’s top club competition after missing out for two seasons in succession.

The increased revenue from Champions League qualification will serve to ease internal financial concerns at Arsenal, particularly regarding their sky-high wage bill.

And Venkatesham – who was promoted to managing director in September – admits another season without Champions League football is likely to have a detrimental impact on finances, though he did stress it would not have catastrophic implications.

‘I think it has an impact across the club – it is a material impact, financially being in the Europa League and not the Champions League.

‘It is hard to put a number on it because it depends how well you do in the Europa League and how well you do in the Champions League and it depends on how many English clubs are in both.

‘But it is tens of millions of pounds, so there is a financial incentive to it. But we want to be playing in the biggest games, it is a bigger competition being in the Champions League.

‘The more years we spend out of the Champions League the bigger strain it puts on the business model. There’s not a final point we get to where it becomes a catastrophic problem and we are nowhere near that.’

But Venkatesham believes Emery, who replaced Arsene Wenger at the helm in the summer, is the man to propel the club back into the top four.

His energy is absolutely extraordinary. His work ethic is absolutely extraordinary,’ added Venkatesham.

‘When you are on that long flight home from eastern Europe after a Europa League game and everyone is trying to get a little bit of sleep, he is watching the game, analysing it.

‘All times, all hours. His energy levels, his energy and passion is infectious.’