Arsenal must break transfer record to have hope of top-four finish
Jack Wilshere is the latest in a line of Arsenal players struggling with long-term injuries and the news that he may be out for the whole season must force Arsene Wenger to make a forage into the transfer market before the end of the window.
Thomas Vermaelen, Abou Diaby and Tomas Rosicky are previous examples of players in recent seasons who have had substantial injury troubles and now Wilshere has suffered a recurrence of an ankle injury that he underwent surgery for in September.
Wenger has previously stated that with Wilshere and Diaby expected back soon, he would be keeping quiet in the transfer window, especially after getting extremely busy in the closing hours of the August window.
But with five points to make up on the top four at present and a patched up squad, some would argue that Wenger needs to make a similar raid in the coming days and even consider dumping his former policy of buying cheap.
A full-back would be a massive help as Johan Djourou has spent far too long playing out of position, while a two-month loan for Thierry Henry is not the answer to their striker dilemma.
Arsenal need major big-name signings who will make an impact and not squad players if they are to qualify for the Champions League for the 15th season in succession.
Some midfield creativity is now definitely needed with Wilshere sidelined for longer than expected, while a winger would be of value, given the dreadful form of Andrei Arshavin.
To land the top names in these departments, breaking the club record of £17m spent for Jose Antonio Reyes looks essential.
Wenger refused Juan Manuel Mata in the summer after balking at his valuation, but he seems as though he will be worth his fee at Chelsea and Arsenal may need to take a similar risk.
Eden Hazard, Mario Gotze and Christian Eriksen all look like creative midfielders capable of making an impact, but the big question is whether Wenger will look for cheaper alternatives again.
Alexander Hleb is one option on a free transfer if Wenger decides to bring back another former star or Yoann Gourcuff may arrive for closer to £10m from Lyon.
Arsenal’s odds are currently 9/4 to finish in the top four this season.