Arsenal are just one or two signings short of giving fans real confidence in a Premier League title charge, according to former midfielder Ray Parlour.
Arsene Wenger’s side have so far been quiet in the transfer market, with the signing of midfielder Granit Xhaka in May for a reported £35million fee their sole major arrival to date, though youngsters Takuma Asano and Rob Holding have also joined.
Lyon claimed last month that they rejected a €35m bid from the Gunners for striker Alexandre Lacazette, however, while rumours have suggested that a bid for Valencia defender Shkodran Mustafi or West Brom’s Jonny Evans is imminent.
And Parlour, who was encouraged by Arsenal’s 3-2 friendly win over Manchester City on Sunday, feels that deals to bring in one or two new faces could well be in the works as Wenger looks to get supporters believing in a first league title since 2004.
Speaking after the launch of Virgin Media and the Football Supporters’ Federation’s ‘Twenty’s Plenty’ partnership, he told Omnisport: “There’s always a positive vibe [about Arsenal]. You’ve got to be confident and believe in yourself as a player.
“But we know how many quality sides there are in the league so it’s going to be difficult for Arsenal. But they’ve got some good young players coming through – [Alex] Iwobi really impressed me, he scored in the first half [against City], and Theo [Walcott] looked lively. They’ve got a very good side.
“It’s a long hard season, you need the luck along the way. They’re still waiting for a couple more signings that would really make the fans feel more confident.
“Certainly Xhaka’s a good player, he’ll bring more steel to the midfield. They’ve relied on Francis Coquelin a lot for that. I’m sure there’s things going on behind the scenes, you know how long these deals take now. John Stones was expected three or four weeks ago, Paul Pogba was very similar. They take a lot more time now.
“It’s very difficult at times, with clubs not wanting to sell, agents fees, all this sort of stuff. It’s a lot more complicated.
“If they can get the right deal, the right player in to make them stronger, obviously they’ll have more chance. The bigger squad you have, the bigger chance you have of winning the Premier League or reaching the latter stages of the Champions League.”
— Héctor Bellerín (@HectorBellerin) August 7, 2016
Parlour feels that strengthening the centre-back position is key for Arsenal, especially with Gabriel having damaged a heel in the win over City, while he believes another striker at the Emirates Stadium would be beneficial.
However, the 43-year-old – a three-time league champion with the Gunners – believes using Alexis Sanchez alongside Olivier Giroud, in a similar role to that enjoyed by Antoine Griezmann for France at Euro 2016, could reap big rewards.
“It’s not too difficult to look at it as a fan: they need another centre-half, particularly with Gabriel going off,” he said. “Another centre-forward will be great as well. But I think Arsene Wenger might put Sanchez a little more advanced this season, he’s always impressed for Chile like that.
“He could maybe play Giroud and Sanchez up top – he played really well with Griezmann at the Euros.”
Ray Parlour was speaking during the launch announcement of Virgin Media and Football Supporters Federation’s partnership, Twenty’s Plenty, which will cut ticket costs to £20 for away fans at St Mary’s this season.