Arsenal chief hails Emery
Managing director Vinai Venkatesham says Arsenal are in good hands under Unai Emery and claims they can make the top four this season.
Spaniard Emery has made a positive impression at the Emirates Stadium after stepping in to fill the big shoes left by Arsene Wenger following his departure from the club at the end of last season, putting together a 16-match unbeaten run after losing their opening two games to Chelsea and Manchester City.
For all Wenger's achievements in his 22-year stint in charge, the Frenchman failed to secure Champions League qualification in both his last two years in north London, a situation which Venkatesham says has cost Arsenal "tens of millions of pounds".
The club's managing director says the minimum expectation for Emery this season is to guide the team back into the top four but believes he has demonstrated he is capable of achieving much more, predicting the Gunners can be title challengers under the former Paris Saint-Germain coach.
“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,” said 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."
Discussing what he has made of Emery since he took charge, he added: “His energy is absolutely extraordinary. His work-ethic is absolutely extraordinary.
“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… We had dinner with him on Wednesday and his energy and passion is infectious.”
Chris Rivers is an experienced reporter who closely follows both Arsenal and Wales Rugby Union team. As well as in-depth football and rugby knowledge, Chris is an avid American Football, Formula One and boxing fan.