With one signing, Arsenal seemed to turn the page on a painful chapter in their history. When Mesut Ozil was bought from Real Madrid for £42 million it marked their financial transformation from a club who could only sell top stars, to a side which buys them.
They followed this up by signing Alex Sanchez from Barcelona the following summer, and more additions are likely this summer.
Competing for top players is a turnaround from losing them, selling the likes of Robin van Persie, Cesc Fabregas, Samir Nasri all at the peak of their powers, and against their will.
Now it is their Premier League rivals Liverpool who are challenged in such a way, having lost Luis Suarez for big money last summer to Barcelona, their subsequent spending spree was a damp squib in terms of big names.
The Reds are presently battling to keep star player Raheem Sterling at the club, and their success in doing so or not has the potential to mark their direction. Sterling told the BBC yesterday he has rejected a new contract offer.
Arsenal it could be argued are in a similar situation regarding Theo Walcott, but there is a difference. Walcott cannot currently get in the Arsenal team, while for Liverpool, Sterling's departure would be more harshly felt.
The Gunners also have the added confidence of a recent FA Cup win which eases pressure, and can follow it up with another this season. Liverpool stand in their path, but there is more pressure on Brendan Rodgers who is yet to win a trophy in his first three seasons at the club.
Allowing Sterling to leave would be a disaster, and ask real questions about the club's ambition. These were exactly the same sort of whisperings aimed at Arsenal in recent seasons, which they finally answered when they bought Ozil.
Letting Suarez to go is one thing, but permitting a second star player to depart against their will in a matter of seasons would signify a trend, and as fans of Arsenal would attest to, not a pleasant cycle for Liverpool to find themselves in.