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Arsenal chief Vinai Venkatesham sends major Champions League warning to Mikel Arteta

Mikel Arteta has been warned that Arsenal belong in the Champions League and need to return as soon as possible.

The Gunners were regulars in Europe’s elite competition for years under Arsene Wenger, featuring for 19 successive years up until 2016.

But the club are about to embark on a fourth consecutive Europa League campaign after falling short in the Premier League in recent years.

And Arsenal chief executive Vinai Venkatesham says things need to change soon, because the Champions League “is where the club belongs”.

He 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.

Mikel Arteta and Arsenal are looking to build on a fine end to the 2019/20 campaign
(Image: Getty)
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“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.”

Like many clubs, the Gunners have also been affected by the coronavirus pandemic and have had to make sacrifices financially due to games being played behind closed doors.

Vinai Venkatesham insists Arsenal belong in the Champions League

They have had to make 55 redundancies so far and are keen to get fans back inside the Emirates as soon as possible.

Venkatesham added that he is desperate from both a financial point of view and for the supporters that everything is done to help them return.

He added: “It is absolutely critical. The fans are the energy and fuel behind the club. They are the ones who lift the players…