Arsenal legend Frank McLintock has warned Arsene Wenger that he's still three top-class signings away from being assured of a sustained title challenge this season, despite the Gunners already spending around £60m on four additions to their squad ahead of the new campaign.
Wenger has moved swiftly by his own standards to sign Alexis Sanchez, Mathieu Debuchy, David Opsina and Calum Chambers this summer, but McLintock is adamant that the spine of Arsenal's current starting XI needs added steel and style to make sure there's no repeat of last season's depressing March collapse.
Further improvements required
McLintock told talkSPORT: "Arsenal need three more players to be serious Premier League title contenders.
"They need a centre-half, especially if Thomas Vermaelen is going, a big central midfielder and a centre forward. They were in a prime position last year to push on and win it [the title].
"Giroud scored 22 goals last season, which is not bad at all, but he's not a top centre forward. He did a good job but he was exhausted towards the end of the season. Yaya Sanogo, Lukas Podolski and Theo Walcott are not centre forwards."
"We also need a big central midfielder. There's a lack of height in Arsenal's team and they always seem vulnerable at free-kicks and corners. Arsenal need a big Patrick Vieira type."
Wenger has his own plan
Arsenal will surely be forced back into the transfer market before the window slams shut when Thomas Vermaelen's situation is finally cleared up.
Vermaelen looks all set to leave the Emirates following an alarming dip in form over the last 18 months, with Arsenal accepting a £15m offer for their club captain from Barcelona.
That will leave the Gunners desperately short of cover at centre-back, particularly with Per Mertesacker returning late from World Cup duty.
Wenger has identified Calum Chambers as a young starlet capable of providing back-up, but surely there also needs to be an experienced centre-back pushing Mertesacker and Koscielny for a starting spot this term.
Additions further forward
A criticism often levelled at Arsenal and Wenger in particular is that they are have never managed to replace Vieira and add strength to the key central midfield battle, with the likes of William Carvalho and Sami Khedira names that have been consistently mentioned with taking on that mantle this summer.
Further forward there are also huge question marks about strength in depth behind Wenger's preferred strike star Olivier Giroud, but despite McLintock's pleas expect the Gunners chiefs to follow his own path in search of silverware over the next 10 months and beyond.
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