By now, we are all accustomed to hearing Arsène Wenger speak intelligently.

He talks like a diplomat, laying out the big picture when so many will only look at the present or – at best – the recent past. Not the Arsenal manager, who appears to have a clear view of everything that isn’t a controversial refereeing decision.

The Arsenal AGM has often been a hostile event in recent years, but Wenger’s clarity and confidence has calmed the room, despite the split opinions of him it usually holds. What about this year? There was less vitriol but still an air of frustration, but the Arsenal manager managed to explain exactly how he sees his own time at Arsenal.

“Quite easy,” the manager said of two doubles, two further FA Cups and an unbeaten title-winning season all in the space of a decade. Bringing in Patrick Vieira, Thierry Henry and Robert Pirès to name but three Arsenal legends.

There were only two top teams back then. Sir Alex Ferguson made Manchester United top dog in England. Wenger made Arsenal the Scotsman’s first truly sustained rival.

Unfortunately, the money then flooded in. First Chelsea, and later Manchester City, Arsenal couldn’t compete financial with two or three clubs with deeper pockets, nor could we hope all three would underperform at once. Unwilling to compromise on our self-sustainability, we built a stadium.

When you build a football stadium, you have to pay for it. Playing in the Champions League is worth a lot of money, but staying near the top of the richest league in the world is difficult. It’s even more difficult when you aren’t spending money because you have to pay for the stadium you’ve just built. But Wenger did it.

Thanks to playing Champions League football every single season (it’s now 18 in a row, more than any club other than Real Madrid), Arsenal paid off the majority of the debt ahead of schedule. Poor commercial deals have been rectified and the likes of Mesut Özil, Alexis Sánchez and Petr Čech want to play for our football club. They want to play for our manager, and he can afford to buy them.

That financial ease means signing top players and, in turn, improving on the pitch. Finally, we can compete on the transfer market and it becomes that much easier to compete on the pitch again.

We aren’t far away. No team has more Premier League points since January 1st. It may not count for anything, but that’s a long period of time to be the best team in the league over. We’ve played Manchester City and Chelsea away from home, Manchester United both home and away, and welcomed Liverpool to the Emirates Stadium twice in that period.

We’ve also won two FA Cups in as many seasons, one the season we signed Mesut Özil and one the season we signed Alexis Sánchez.

Arsenal are very much on the way back to the top, and Arsène Wenger knows that this – the ‘third period’ of his time at the club – is the moment to deliver the very biggest of trophies once again.

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Usually found watching or talking about English or German football. Interested in tactics (but often despairing a lack of them). Favourite players: Bergkamp, Arteta, Özil