Arsene Wenger
Frank McLintock has urged Arsene Wenger to spend money and strengthen Arsenal during the January transfer window Getty

Former Arsenal defender Frank McLintock has urged Arsene Wenger to splash the cash during the ongoing January transfer window and build a team capable of challenging on all fronts. He believes the Gunners are still quite behind Bayern Munich and Barcelona in terms of the quality of players and has urged the manager to make use of the considerable amount of funds available at his disposal.

The 1970/71 double winning captain has identified three positions that need the manager's immediate attention before the end of the current season as they look to challenge for the Premier League title and progress in the Champions League, where they face the mighty Barcelona in the last 16. He feels a replacement for Per Mertesacker is a must despite his consistency at the back for Arsenal, while also urging the manager to buy quality backups for Francis Coquelin and Olivier Giroud.

The former of the two is currently injured and the Emirates Stadium outfit have had to rely on Mathieu Flamini, while the latter along with Theo Walcott are the only two recognised forwards in the squad owing to Danny Welbeck's long-term injury. Despite the lengthy list of injuries, the north London club are two points clear on top of the table but the former defender feels that the club need to take that "extra step" to reach the level of the Catalan giants, who conquered both Europe and Spain last season.

"I'd like to see an improvement in January, especially at centre-half. I think Per Mertesacker has been a bit fortunate. He's been a great pro and a great player for Germany, but I can't see him getting in the Bayern Munich, Barcelona or Real Madrid teams. That's a position that needs to be filled," he told talkSPORT's breakfast show.

"If [Francis] Coquelin is injured there isn't a ready-made player with any height or strength who could play in that holding midfield position, and they definitely need another top class centre-forward too in case [Olivier] Giroud — who has been effective this season — gets injured. There are still positions they can improve on.

"When I look at the Bayern Munich, Barcelona or Real Madrid, Arsenal are quite a bit behind them. Arsenal are a massive club, they get 60,000 fans every week, they've got a beautiful stadium and the debt has been wiped off — I think they've got to really go for it now," the former Gunners skipper explained.

"I would like to see Arsenal taking that extra step, trying to go for the top, going for European cups and domestic championships as well.

"And if you want to be up there with the biggest clubs in the world, you've got to be prepared to buy players like [Alexis] Sanchez and [Mesut] Ozil, even for the big money. If you asking fans to pay the kind of money they pay to watch Arsenal, I think the club should make sure they provide the best players in the world, if possible," he added.