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I have had sleepless nights over redundancies – Venkatesham

Arsenal CEO Vinai Venkatesham says he has had “sleepless nights” over making 55 staff redundant in early August.

Mikel Arteta’s job title was changed from head coach to manager on Thursday with Venkatesham saying the north London club are “really comfortable with what he is doing”.

Venkatesham, whose job title was changed to CEO on Thursday, says Arsenal are adopting a leaner organisational structure to cope with the financial losses caused by the coronavirus crisis, but also admits he has had “sleepless nights” after making 55 staff redundancies in early August.

“This is not a big organisation,” he said.

“We’ve got hundreds of employees all based within 30 miles of each other. I know the people, I know their families, I know people very closely.

“So, to make a decision that we had to propose redundancies was really, really tough and we did that for the right reasons.

“Unfortunately we see a different economy ahead and we needed to restructure our organisation and make a really tough decision and unfortunately my job is about making hard decisions to make sure that we have the right structure going forward to make sure we are leaner, faster and equipped to deal with a different economy and that’s really tough.

Venkatesham says Arsenal’s aim is to consistently be in the Champions League again having not been in Europe’s most prestigious club competition since the 2016/17 season.

He added: “We belong in the Champions League. Yes we’ve been in European football for the past 25 years, which is a great record. But the past three years and this one, we are in a competition we don’t want to be in.

“We want to get back in the mix competing for the Premier League – and doing it the way Arsenal have always done, playing the entertaining, engaging football our fans want to see.”

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