Paying for the Emirates Stadium meant years of financial austerity under former boss Arsene Wenger.
Gooners were forced to suck up the pain of Cesc Fabregas’ inevitable return to Barcelona in 2011.
Worse was to follow a year later however, as Wenger inexplicably sold Robin van Persie to Manchester United, helping them win yet another Premier League title.
But by 2019, the years of Arsenal being forced to sell their best players to rival clubs should be long gone.
The Gunners were supposed to be in a dominant position, Wenger’s successor was meant to inherit riches on a par with Bayern Munich.
That, however, is certainly not the scenario facing Unai Emery ahead of his second season in the Emirates hot seat.
With a reported £45m in the bank and transfer fees more inflated than ever, the Spaniard finds himself in an unenviable position.
Crystal Palace have laughed Arsenal’s £40m offer for Wilfried Zaha out of town, while Celtic are playing hardball for left-back target Kieran Tierney.
So should Emery be entertaining thoughts of selling his best players in order to boost the club’s coffers?
Rumours of AC Milan’s interest in Lucas Torreira seemed far fetched considering their own state of financial disrepair.
And with Aaron Ramsey now officially a Juventus player, Arsenal’s biggest assets are undoubtedly Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Alexandre Lacazette.
Emery deserves credit for successfully incorporating both forwards into his system last season.
The Gabonese star is now entering the last 24 months of his contract and Gooners might be getting a sense of deja vu.
Manchester United are reportedly showing interested in Aubameyang, who, according to Ian McGarry of the Transfer Window Podcast, is ‘not unwilling’ to make the move to Old Trafford.
So perhaps Arsenal fans should be steeling themselves for ‘RvP part two’, should Emery choose to cash in.
Lacazette is certainly the more adaptable of the two, and more hard-working to boot.
And if he was to take the plunge and risk selling one, and speculate to accumulate, Aubameyang must surely be the one to go.
He is undoubtedly world-class on his day and he outscored Lacazette last season, but there are other factors to consider.
Firstly, having turned 30 last month, Aubameyang’s value will now begin to fall sharply.
Arsenal are reportedly trying to tie both strikers down to new long-term deals this summer, but there has been little sign of progress on that front.
Of course it would be preferable to sell Mesut Ozil or Henrikh Mkhitaryan, but there is understanderbly a dearth of suitors for both.
Wenger’s legacy of the 2003/04 Invincibles cannot and should be diminished, but Arsenal are now feeling the strain of his reckless final years in charge.
He said there would be money for his successor, but he spent it on Ozil’s £350,000-a-week contract and Lacazette and Aubameyang.
In an ideal world Arsenal must keep most their two clinical strikers while adding the defensive solidity they desperately need.
Emery failed to take PSG beyond the Champions League quarter-finals, and yet now it somehow seems almost a greater task to qualify for the very same competition with a club who did exactly that for 16 consecutive years.