Arsenal’s new hierarchy said they will only recruit in January in case of an “emergency” – their defensive injury crisis seems to epitomise the term.
Unai Emery has been forced to play a makeshift defence throughout the busiest period of the season, as Hector Bellerin, Konstantinos Mavraponos, Nacho Monreal and Rob Holding have all been sidelined with injury.
The need for defensive reinforcements is clear for everyone to see and it was particularly telling when the new Gunners chief suffered his heaviest defeat as boss so far – a 5-1 loss at the hands of table-toppers Liverpool.
Signings are expected and some big names could also leave, but how could Arsenal look come the end of the window?
talkSPORT.com has assessed the possibilities and built a potential Arsenal line-up at the end of the month.
You can see the team below…
Latest Transfer News
Bournemouth 'make loan swoop' for Liverpool defender, Cardiff also interested
Jermain Defoe agrees personal terms with Rangers ahead of loan move
Talk about it
Every word of Emery’s press conference from Navas rumour to FA Cup tie
loz of cash
Chelsea to 'bid £36m' for forward who lit up World Cup and Champions League
Talk about it
Every word of Mauricio Pochettino’s Tottenham press conference
third time lucky?
Bayern return with third bid for Chelsea winger Hudson-Odoi – reports
Saints boss confirms Steven Davis is poised for Rangers return
Celtic and Rangers in race for wantaway striker Jermain Defoe – reports
blow for villa?
Wolves boss refuses to rule out move for Chelsea striker Abraham
off to turkey?
Fenerbahce 'ready to bid' for out-of-favour Man United star
In recent matches, Emery has opted to use five at the back – with Sead Kolasinac and Ainsley Maitland-Niles covering either flanks.
Laurent Koscielny, Sokratis and Shkodran Mustafi formulated Emery’s ever-changing centre-back trio in their last outing – but it is the man behind the sticks that is the manager’s worry.
Bernd Leno has struggled to adapt to life in north London and Emery is believed to be on the lookout for a new goalkeeper as Arsenal have already shipped 31 goals in just 21 matches.
According to Sport, Arsenal have bid £14.5million to secure the services of Real Madrid shot-stopper Keylor Navas.
Navas hasn’t appeared in La Liga since matchday two all the way back in August – and with Petr Cech now 36 he is Arsenal’s target to provide competition to the struggling Leno.
The Costa Rica glovesman, 32, is surplus to requirements at the Bernebeu following Thibaut Courtois’ arrival from Chelsea and could provide some much needed experience to the Gunners side.
Having won three Champions League titles with Real Madrid – could Navas be the man to add some much needed experience and rigidity to Emery’s side?
Another reported target for the Gunners is a player Emery has worked with twice before – Ever Banega.
The Argentina international currently plays for Sevilla, and is widely regarded as one of the best midfielders in Spain’s top division. Emery had previously coached Banega at Valencia as well as Sevilla.
He could be a potential replacement for Mesut Ozil – who has fallen out of favour with his boss this season, although the German playmaker has insisted he wants to stay with the club.
The 30-year-old was heavily linked with a move to Arsenal throughout the summer but opted to stay in Spain.
However, he would be ideal player for Emery’s system – playing as the second central-midfielder beside Lucas Torreira and in front of Granit Xhaka.
If Banega was signed and some of Emery’s defenders returned from injury – the manager could move back to his preferred 4-3-3 formation.
He would provide the creative edge in a midfield trio that would allow the front three of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Alexandre Lacazette and Alex Iwobi to flourish.
Arsenal have also been linked with high-flying Norwich right-back Max Aarons.
The Mirror say the Gunners will match any move Spurs make for the 18-year-old, who they were first linked with earlier this month.
The full-back has been in sensational form for the Canaries this term and has rightfully put some top Premier League clubs on alert for his signature.
Having notched up two goals and three assists for the Norfolk outfit – Aarons could provide healthy competition on the flanks for Emery’s side.
Although Aarons is primarily a right-back, he is a versatile player and can play on the left side of defence, too.
With Bellerin expected back from injury in the coming days – Aarons could provide healthy competition for Sead Kolasinac, who looks sloppy defensively at times.
The move would also allow Maitland-Niles to push forward to his more natural midfield role and be an extra outlet for Emery in the middle of the park.