Venkatesham: We can survive Europa League stint…for now

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Vinai Venkatesham says Arsenal’s stint in the Europa League is not stopping them from investing in top talent, however, the club is taking a financial hit from not being able to feed at UEFA’s top table and needs to secure a Champions League return soon.

After 20 successive top four finishes under Arsene Wenger, the club is well aware that consecutive seasons in Europe’s second-tier competition has the potential to put a strain on their self-sustaining business model.

The Gunners made around €38 million from last season’s run to the Europa League semi-finals. While that’s not a bad return, in contrast to the riches secured by domestic rivals playing Champions League football – Liverpool (€81.3m), Chelsea (€65.2m), Man City (€63.8m), Sp*rs (€61.3m) – it makes for a comparatively small handout.

Take into account a wage bill inflated by a series of high-profile arrivals and new deals handed to other squad members, and it becomes obvious why Unai Emery’s number one target for the season is to finish as high up the Premier League as possible.

“We do have a self-sustaining business model so the more years you spend out of the Champions League, the bigger strain it puts on the business model,” said managing director Venkatesham.

“There’s not a final point we get to where it becomes a catastrophic problem and we are nowhere near that.

“We run the business in a responsible way – we know there are at least six teams who have a minimum requirement of being in the Champions League.

“So we have that robustness built into our business model that we can have some seasons in the Europa League and still make the investments we need.”

A 16-game unbeaten run makes for a positive backdrop to talk of a Champions League return and future silverware. However, when you consider our recent impressive run has only seen us climb to 5th in the Premier League table, it underlines just how hard it will be for Emery to secure a top four finish come May.

“It is not going to be easy but I absolutely, 100 per cent believe Arsenal Football Club can get back to where it needs to get,” added Venkatesham.

“The first step we need to do is get back into the Champions League and then we need to start competing and then we need to start winning the biggest trophies in the game.

“We need to be realistic, last season we finished sixth and we had our second season in a row in the Europa League – that is not where we want this football club to be.

“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, it is a material impact being in the Europa League – so that is the financial bit of it.”

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Pedant
Pedant

We got very used to being in the CL season after season. Brings lots of money and profile.

Would like to get used to it again.

allezkev
allezkev

It would be great to win the Europa League especially as it’ll be 25 years since Arsenal last won a european trophy next May.

DvN
DvN

We know that self-sustaining business model will never equal trophies, but it won’t be long before self-sustaining business model will never equal Champions League. I hope that the intersect doesn’t cmoe before the realization that this is how modern football works especially in England.

Jasper
Jasper

All good things take time.

Ronny
Ronny

A difference of 30 million is immense, especially if it starts building up over seasons. Got to get in the CL.

Rich
Rich

If Emery gets us CL football for next season? Then he would have exceeded my expectations.
I think it’s only fair he gets a season to install his ideas, but even next season.. fighting for a top4 finish is probably about as good as it’s going to get.

Monkey Nuts
Monkey Nuts

How can something not exist (the catastrophic point) yet we be nowhere near it. May I presume it does exist if your business model removes any chance of winning anything more than the FA or League Cup or finishing in the top 4.

Scott P
Scott P

We made by far the most of any team *only* in the Europa League. The only reason we are above Atletico on that list is because they were first in the Champions League and were subsequently knocked down to the Europa League. Their total earnings from participation in European competition was still higher than ours.

petr cech' s helmet
petr cech' s helmet

Well it’s a shame we didn’t Invest when in it- instead of bombing out and trying to catch up. So many years of disillusioned campaigns.
“But we have Sanogo”. For example.