Arsenal's defeat at the hands of Manchester City this weekend served as a timely reminder that they are nowhere near a sure-fire favourite for the Premier League title this year.
That isn't a mark of disrespect to the Gunners, nor is a suggestion that there's another side in England who are- it's simply a statement made to affirm that the competition in this year's campaign in England's elite division is perhaps the fiercest ever witnessed.
And that can only mean one thing for those hoping to be crowned champions come next summer; improve or fall away.
What's perhaps even more painstakingly observable, from Arsene Wenger's position at least, is that main title rivals Chelsea and Manchester City have both the financial backing and intent to strengthen their squads in January.
This is why for the first-time in recent memory the Arsenal boss is going to have to buy in a striker of true world-class credentials if he wants to sustain the all-conquering form that has been synonymous with his side this term.
The answer in short; Karim Benzema.
Whilst Real Madrid have little or no need for the France international, he retains an aura of 'Galactico' magic around him- not too dissimilar to the one that surrounded Mesut Ozil's arrival at Arsenal, and one that can be seen almost every time a big name leaves the Bernabeu for pastures new.
Carlo Ancelotti may not openly admit it but Luis Suarez and Radamel Falcao are two players that fall heavily into the sights of Los Blancos for the January transfer window. Ironically Florentino Perez might not openly admit it, but they need funds to make either of those moves happen.
Benzema and Angel di Maria have both been marked for sale- and incidentally linked with Arsenal- but whereas the latter is undoubtedly a classy performer on his day it's the former who Wenger is in desperate need of.
Though he has instigated a vast improvement on his goalscoring this campaign Giroud cannot be expected to grab the headlines on a weekly basis, and the fact that Nicklas Bendtner and Yano Sanogo aren't of a high enough standard is a foregone assertion.
Benzema on the other hand, available for as little as £20million if certain reports are to be believed- a far cry from the mooted valuation of £40m- would provide a challenger for Giroud's position who can more often than not be relied upon to score goals.
The interest in him would naturally come from a number of big European teams but, with the promise of first-team football in a team who's Premier League credentials have been somewhat boosted by the arrival of an ex-team-mate and friend- Mesut Ozil-, Wenger could convince the former Lyon man that his future lies in north London.
The Arsenal squad is undeniably gifted, their style sublimely exquisite. Without another player who offers a killer edge when they need it most though, all their hard work thus far could be undone by the reality that their firepower up top currently pales in comparison to those they would seek to trump.
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