Arsene Wenger has highlighted Arsenal’s move to the Emirates stadium in 2006 as the most difficult time of his life.
The Gunners left Highbury for the state-of-the-art Emirates stadium in time for the 2006-07 season, spending over £400 million on the new home.
A loan that was taken at that period, curtailed Arsenal’s spending power and Wenger had to sell high profile players like Ashley Cole, Sagna, Clichy, Fabregas amongst others.
“In 2006 started the most difficult period of my life because we had restricted finances, we had to pay back a huge amount of money and we had to sell our best players and we had to stay at the top,” he told BT Sport ahead of Saturday’s FA Cup final against Chelsea.
“We had to stay in the Champions League and we had to make at least 54,000 people [happy].
“There are debates when you build a stadium. How big can it be? It’s quite simple: at the time it was £4,000 per seat. You multiply that by 60,000 and it’s £240million.
“Plus, we had to buy the soil and the all businesses we had to buy out so it went for over £420million, and we had to pay a huge amount of money back every year and that’s why we had to stay in the Champions League.
“Today, the television money makes the weight of the Champions League much weaker, but at the time it was absolutely needed, so that was for me the biggest period of pressure, between 2006 and 2014.
“Today, you tell me ‘do that again’ I would say ‘no, thank you very much, leave that to somebody else’ because it was an unbelievably tough period.”