Ex-midfielder explains what Arsenal must do to challenge for title

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Ray Parlour believes Arsenal remain 'two or three' players short of being title challengers and need to show that they compete in the transfer market.

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As things stand, Arsenal sit fifth in the Premier League table, some 13 points adrift of leaders Chelsea.

It is safe to assume that they will not be bridging that gap, with it highly unlikely that all of those above them will suffer alarming slumps over the remaining weeks of the season.

That means the Gunners wait for top-flight title glory will be stretched to 11 years.

They finished as runners-up the year after the ‘Invincibles’ swept all before them, but have been outside of the top two ever since.

A top-four finish represents the height of their ambition once again in 2014/15, but why are Arsene Wenger’s side so far adrift?

The Carlsberg Fan Squad has teamed up with talkSPORT to launch a competition to find the People's Pundit. Fans are being asked to showcase their punditry skills in a video entry by swapping the terraces, pub or sofa for the chance to win their big break on talkSPORT. At a promotional event, HITC Sport asked former Gunner Ray Parlour what Arsenal need to do to put themselves back in contention for English football’s biggest prize.

He said: “They are missing two or three players. Whether the players are available or not...I don’t think Arsenal can just go and buy a player for the sake of it. The problem is that the best players, everybody wants them. Wages-wise, I don’t think they can compete with Manchester City or Chelsea. You really have to wait for them to make their move, and then make your move because you can’t meet the 200k-a-week mark because of the wage structure.

“That’s a problem they have and whether they change their policy, you never know. When a new manager comes into the club, which will happen sooner or later, will he demand more than Arsene Wenger from the board? I don’t know.

“They have a decent squad. The squad they have is a good age, in midfield they are mainly 23 or 24. The oldest is (Mikel) Arteta and he probably won’t be challenging next season. Forwards, they have (Danny) Welbeck now and (Olivier) Giroud and maybe they could do with one more in the summer. They have youngsters and a bit of experience and players at an age where they are coming into their prime.

“They need to improve where they can, but the big thing is can they compete with Chelsea and Manchester City? Can they get nearer to them and try to win the league again? I think the league is the most important one and one that over 38 games you are the best team if you win it.”

Arsenal have shown in recent years, during summer transfer windows, that they are prepared to loosen the purse strings if the right player becomes available.

T o have acquired the likes of Mesut Ozil and Alexis Sanchez proves that they remain a big draw for top talent, and they also passed up the opportunity to bring Cesc Fabregas back to Emirates Stadium prior to his switch to Chelsea.

Wenger must, however, ensure that he adds again when another opportunity to bolster the ranks presents itself, and he may have to show that he can compete with the current top two if he is to knock them from their lofty perch in 2015/16.

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