Arsene Wenger
Arsene Wenger [Reuters]

Former Arsenal centre forward Paul Mariner has urged Arsene Wenger to sign a quality striker before the transfer window shuts on Friday in order to keep the Gunner's hope alive of winning the title.

The north London club have Olivier Giroud as the first choice striker at the Emirates, with Nicklas Bendtner as the back-up option in the squad. However, the Dane has been sidelined with injury, forcing Wenger to deploy Lukas Podolski to lead his side's attack during the recent FA Cup fixture.

Arsenal are second in the league table with 52 points from 23 games after their 2-2 draw against Southampton. The Gunners have lost the top spot to Manchester City, who are leading them by a point after the Citizens had a 5-1 away victory over Tottenham Hotspur on Wednesday.

Mariner wants the 64-year-old manager to sign a top-class striker and not to bring in a stop-gap player till the end of the season.

"I've said they need a striker all along. If they get really close to winning the Premier League and miss out by a couple of goals, won't everybody be kicking themselves that they did not splash the cash to just push themselves over that line," Mariner told talkSPORT.

"They are a little bit bare bones up top. [Lukas] Podolski can come in and do a little bit of a job, but nobody can really replace Giroud at this moment. They need cover for that kid. It has got to be a quality striker. There is no point getting in a stop-gap," the former Arsenal star added.

Arsenal were heavily linked with a loan approach for Real Madrid striker Alvaro Morata while also monitoring the progress of FC Porto star Jackson Martinez.

Arsenal are yet to make a signing in this month and Wenger has already hinted that the Gunners could bring in a new face to the Emirates before the transfer window shuts on 31 January.

The north London club are also without the services of Theo Walcott, who is ruled out for the rest of the season with anterior cruciate ligament injury. Should Wenger sign in a striker, it will be a major boost for Arsenal in their bid to win the title this season.