Arsenal have been advised to stage a mass overhaul of their squad and complete the signings of Bayern Munich's Robert Lewandowski and Raphael Varane from Real Madrid. Former players Ray Parlour and Charlie Nicholas want to see the duo replace Olivier Giroud and Per Mertesacker, who the pair believe are central to the club's failure to construct a meaningful Premier League title bid.
Either Leicester City or Tottenham Hotspur will scoop this year's championship in a campaign which saw the Gunners' title challenge fall apart before the spring. Arsene Wenger's side are now fighting to ensure they don't miss out on a Champions League place with Manchester United and West Ham United in hot pursuit.
Supporters are likely to clamour for Arsenal to break the purse strings and sign a throng of new players during the off-season in order to claw their way into contention next term. Parlour wants to see that spending spree start with the recruitment of Lewandowski, who The Sun claim could be subject of a £75m bid from Manchester City this summer.
"Robert Lewandowski, if they [Arsenal] can get him," Parlour told the Metro when asked about potential targets. "Someone of that calibre. Ideally you want players that are 25 or 26 but sometimes you don't get opportunities for that. I just think they're lacking a top quality striker. He's done well, Olivier Giroud, but is he good enough for the Champions League and Premier League?"
Nicholas meanwhile wants to see Arsenal reinforce their defence, with a much-changed back-four contributing to the club's problems this term. Though Petr Cech has kept 14 clean sheets – with Kasper Schmeichel and Joe Hart the only goalkeepers to have kept more – but no team in the top five has conceded more than the 34 goals let in by the north Londoners.
Varane is regarded as one of the best defenders in Europe, and is part of a Real side which are hunting down both domestic and continental honours this term. Jose Mourinho is a known admirer of the Frenchman and has been linked with making the player his first signing should he be appointed Manchester United manager.
"When Arsene Wenger starts planning for next season, if he is there, which I think he will be, I would rather he addressed the defensive issues than bought a striker," Nicholas said, according to Sky Sports. "If I had a position to buy right now and a choice between a centre-forward and Raphael Varane, my priority would be Varane.
"It needs to be a leader but one of significance on the pitch, not like Per Mertesacker saying the right things in front of the camera 30 minutes before the game. Leadership isn't chitchat, it's being willing to sacrifice yourself."