Arsenal can win the Premier League title next season if they complete the signing of Real Madrid defender Raphael Varane and Southampton midfielder Morgan Schneiderlin this summer, that's according to club legend Charlie Nicholas.
The Gunners fans favourite - who now works as a pundit for Sky Sports - is of the opinion that Arsene Wenger's current squad is still lacking two key players to close the gap on runaway leaders Chelsea at the top of the table.
Nicholas was quoted by the Daily Mirror identifying the areas of the team that still need strengthening and picked out the pair of France international stars as ideal acquisitions when the transfer window reopens.
"I still think they’re two players away from being the real deal," he explained. "It’s the defence and the protection of the defence that need attention – he [Wenger] recognises that now.
"[Francis] Coquelin has done really well but I would like another holding midfield player to come in, perhaps a Schneiderlin type of player.
"Ideally, if the situation arose I’d like to go and get Raphael Varane from Real Madrid, that’s who I’d really love Arsenal to get."
Schneiderlin was heavily linked with a move away from St Mary's last summer and it's understood that Saints boss Ronald Koeman will allow the 25-year-old to leave to fulfil his ambition of playing Champions League football providing a suitor meets the south coast club's valuation.
Varane, meanwhile, has fallen out of first-team favour at the Santiago Bernabeu under Carlo Ancelotti and could be allowed to leave the Spanish giants for the right price with Pepe and Sergio Ramos the preferred central defensive pairing.
However, Arsenal will probably need to fork out close to £50 million to secure both players' signatures, with each individual likely to cost upwards of £20 million.
It remains to be seen whether Wenger would sanction such a significant outlay, particularly after spending big in each of the past two summer windows when he recruited star turns Alexis Sanchez and Mesut Ozil.
Arsenal fans: Where do you think Arsene Wenger needs to strengthen to make a stronger challenge for the Premier League title next term? Have your say below...
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