Arsenal were brought back to earth after an impressive unbeaten run as they fell to a 4-0 loss away to Liverpool on Saturday evening.
It was a result which laid bare the work in progress Mikel Arteta’s project remains despite the strides the Gunners have taken this season.
Although certain players have hit the ground running following big-money arrivals in the summer, Martin Odegaard is among those yet to live up to his price tag.
Arteta will need every player contributing at the maximum of their ability if Arsenal are to mount a top-four challenge, and he knows his squad still needs fine-tuning.
The Spaniard and technical director Edu have begun planning for the January transfer window and the rumour mill claims they have identified two key targets.
Here is Thursday’s Arsenal transfer round-up.
Trio to be flogged to fund Sanches swoop
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Edu is prepared to part ways with three players in the January transfer window to raise funds to sign Renato Sanches, according to reports on the continent.
Sanches, 24, helped Lille win an unexpected Ligue 1 title last season and he is a mainstay in the Portugal national team.
The former Bayern Munich midfielder has been heavily linked with a permanent switch to the Premier League in recent months and Arsenal appear to lead Liverpool in the race for his services.
Sanches will have 18 months remaining on his contract by the time the January transfer window opens, but he will not come on the cheap.
Indeed, Edu is preparing to offload Alexandre Lacazette, Eddie Nketiah and Bernd Leno to try and raise €55million (£46m) to sign Sanches, claims CalcioMercato .
Lacazette and Nketiah are out of contract next summer, while Leno’s deal at the Emirates runs until 2023.
The report adds Lille would find it difficult to say no to an offer of £46million for their prized midfielder.
Gunners will prioritise striker
While reports in Italy suggest Sanches is Arsenal’s No.1 target, Italian journalist and renowned transfer expert Fabrizio Romano insists signing a striker is the club’s priority.
As mentioned, centre-forwards Lacazette and Nketiah will be free to leave next summer while Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang will turn 33 next June.
Romano suggested the Gunners could rekindle their interest in Inter Milan star Lautaro Martinez, telling the The Arsenal Lounge : “From what I’m told the priority for Arsenal, in (the) last days of the summer window and in January or next summer if it won’t be January is a striker.
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“They want to sign an important striker, they know they need an important striker so the mission is to get one. They were trying for Lautaro Martinez in the summer but it was really complicated to sign him, almost impossible.
“Then they were trying for Tammy Abraham, who was another option but then he joined Roma. They always wanted this kind of striker and they are working on this.
“I expect Arsenal to sign a new striker but I don’t know if they will be able to do it in January because the January transfer window is never easy.”
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Contrasting Leno reports
To make matters more confusing this midweek, a separate report suggests Leno will not be sold in the January window.
Although the German, 29, has lost his place to Aaron Ramsdale, The Athletic claims Mikel Arteta would like to hold on to him until at least the end of the season.
The report also asserts Mohamed Elneny will be kept for the good of squad depth despite his strong links with Galatasaray.