We were the invincibles, arguably the best team England has ever seen. Patrick Vieira was a dominant figure in the centre of midfield the world class Dennis Bergkamp was just further ahead of him up the pitch, goal scoring winger cum playmaker Robert Pires who was on the same wavelength as his french compatriot Thierry Henry. Freddie Ljungberg's well timed runs were rarely ignored by the classy Dutchman and this produced many goals for Arsenal. For all the negatives we can say about him we had the best left back in the premiership probably in European football. Next to him was England's first choice centre half, big Sol Campbell. Not the West Ham half time Sol, the full time powerful Sol.
There wasn't much more that the squad could achieve apart from the elusive Champions league but domestically Arsenal were top dogs.
In came Roman Abramovich and the never ending depth of his wallet. Chelsea were about to change English football, so Arsene and the Arsenal board had to make a decision. Where were Arsenal going to go from here? With the Emirates stadium debts soaring high it would have been impossible to replace the ageing Pires, Bergkamp, Campbell etc. And with club captain Patrick Vieira in a steady decline it was going to have to be all change at Arsenal football club.
Chelsea were looking at the best players in world football and the value on these players heads started soaring. Wenger could have gone out and bought 28 year old experienced unknowns and tried to improve them, but I think the saying you can't teach old dogs new tricks is the general rule for older players. Wenger looked at the Ajax teams of the early nineties and the Manchester United team which produced the crop of players which dominated the Premiership.
If Chelsea were going to buy the current best players we would invest and buy the future best players. This way we would be able to match Chelsea, Manchester Untied, Real Madrid etc but without spending vast sums of cash. The downside to this is that we don't get instant success, we don't get an instant return. But the upside of this is that we don't get players who have already developed their style of play. Arsene Wenger has the opportunity to develop them exactly how he wants to. Eboue came to Arsenal as a midfield player and could end up being a future world class right back.
So all we need right now is patience and the man who knows will prove everyone who has doubted him that his plan was right all along.