Arsene Wenger has explained why Arsenal had to sell players between 2006 and 2015.
During the period of the club’s history that is now commonly referred to as the “Banter Era”, Arsenal had to sell a number of high-profile players and replace them with bargain buys.
This period coincided with Arsenal’s move from Highbury to the Emirates Stadium, a project which put the club under severe financial pressure.
Reflecting on that period, Wenger explains the reasons for selling and the unfortunate circumstances that saw Arsenal fail to challenge for major honours.
“People do not take a step back to look at what has happened,” Wenger said, as reported by Give Me Sport.
“For me, the environment changed between 2006 and 2015, because we were under financial restrictions, at a time when a lot of money was injected into English football.
“We had less money, we had to sell our best players, whilst other teams were strengthening… sometimes with our players. But the expectations were exactly the same.
“To be completely honest, I have never worked more than during this period, between 2006 and 2015. I had signed a five-year contract, because the banks required it whilst we were building a new stadium.
“We had absolutely no guarantees and I went to the end of my contract because I wanted to respect this challenge. But it was difficult. I am proud of what I have done.”
Thierry Henry, Kolo Toure, Emmanuel Adebayor, Cesc Fabregas, Samir Nasri, Gael Clichy and Robin van Persie were the most high profile departures. While Henry and Fabregas departed for Barcelona, the rest joined either Manchester City or Manchester United. They all went on to win major honours.
Meanwhile, Chelsea, United and eventually City all got richer and were able to not only retain their best players, but bring in great players as well.
Arsenal have since recovered their financial strength, and are now comfortably spending huge fees on players. All that’s left now is to build a side strong enough to get back to competing for major honours again.