With 11 points to make up on Leicester in seven games, Arsenal’s dreams of claiming a long-awaited Premier League winners’ medal look to be fading like a British suntan.
As is always the case in such times of disappointment, solace can be found in the warm truths of the country’s transfer gossip pages. There, the Gunners are pegged to rebuild a new title challenge around two new signings.
Who may these glory-guaranteeing Godsends be? Lionel Messi, perhaps? Maybe Robert Lewandowski? Even Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s capture would bring some relief to a north London fanbase that pines for a world class striker.
Unfortunately, one half of the supposed new arrivals is well known to regular rumour readers.
Juventus’ Alvaro Morata appears to be the only frontman Arsenal have eyes for, so often is the former Real Madrid man linked to the Emirates Stadium.
Six Serie A strikes in 29 appearances this season makes the 23-year-old Spaniard less potent, from a goals-per-game standpoint, than seemingly inadequate current options Olivier Giroud and Theo Walcott.
Theories that Los Blancos, who retain buy-back capabilities on Morata, could exercise that right before selling the striker on to the Gunners for a hefty fee should worry many a Gooner. The Old Lady line leader is yet to crack double figures in any top-flight campaign during his career.
As tired as the suggestion that the Spanish international moves to north London is, there is at least a fresh name in the mix when it comes to Arsenal rumours. Unfortunately it is no less inspiring.
Roma’s Greek centre-back, Konstantinos – Kostas for short – Manolas, is a £12m attraction for Arsene Wenger and his suspect eye for a deal.
Two seasons into his career in Italy, the 24-year-old has featured regularly for the Giallorossi having previously struggled to play 30 games in a season for both Olympiacos and AEK Athens in his homeland.
Manolas certainly comes with positives. He has 23 international caps to hang on his wall and boasts considerable European experience having played 45 games in either the Champions or Europa League
Ranking as the eighth-best centre-back to have made more than 15 league appearances in both tackles and shots blocked, the Greek is clearly a committed sort that Arsenal could use.
But do fans really want to see their club snap up a promising defender to help the Premier League’s third-best backline when the chance to land a coveted fourth top-flight title appears agonisingly out of reach?
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.