It’s good to see that Arsene Wenger can joke about the years in which Arsenal had no choice but to sell our players to Manchester City.
In 2011, Ian Wright hit out at Arsenal for becoming City’s ‘feeder club’.
First it was Gael Clichy, then Samir Nasri jumping ship to our rivals for a better paycheck (and trophies blah blah blah) and while I think a lot of the frustration surrounding the moves was exacerbated by the fact that we weren’t winning anything or signing anyone else, it was still a dark time.
On top of this, we were about to lose Cesc Fabregas to Barcelona.
“Since when did Arsenal become Manchester City’s feeder club?” Wright said at the time in his column for the Sun.
“With Cesc Fabregas looking a goner to Barcelona too, it’s very, very sad to see. How on earth will Arsene Wenger attract any top players to Arsenal?
“It’s come to something when a player like Clichy feels Arsenal is not good enough for him any more. He can see that Man City is going to be challenging for top trophies next season.
“Arsenal are being left behind. And the trouble is, when all the top-class players have gone, it becomes extremely difficult to lure other top players to your club.
“Wenger has put his faith in picking up little gems from abroad, little-known players who he can nurture and develop.
“I’d love to see Wenger being given the same sort of transfer pot that the likes of Chelsea will get. The same backing Alex Ferguson enjoys at Manchester United.
“But I have my suspicions that he would still dither about, take too long to make up his mind and then plump for someone in France or Spain hardly any of us have ever heard of.
“Wenger is still the right man for the job but he needs proper backing and I do feel that sometimes he needs a good shaking.”
Almost six years on, we’ve come a long way.
Now that we’ve got our accounts back on track, we’re signing stars like Mesut Ozil and Alexis Sanchez, tying our existing players down to longer, improved contracts, and challenging.
Wenger was all jokes ahead of Arsenal’s trip to the Etihad on Sunday. Even laughing that City were good ‘clients’ for Arsenal.
Reporter: "During that tough period (new stadium) you sold a lot of players to city"
AW: "Yeah, good client"
— Quicksílver (@DashOfBellerin) December 16, 2016
As charming as the boss can be in pressers, something tells me it probably still stings him just as much – if not more – than us.