Former player Charlie Nicholas believes Arsenal are two signings away from being the real deal, the Daily Star report.
Yet, since the introduction of Francis Coquelin at the start of the New Year, the Gunners have claimed more points than any other team, having won 10 of 12 Premier League matches.
However, Nicholas still feels they are light in that area and urges boss Arsene Wenger to sign a player like Southampton’s Morgan Schneiderlin in order to take the next step.
"I still think they’re two players away from being the real deal. It’s the defence and the protection of the defence that need attention – he [Wenger] recognises that now,” Nicholas told the Daily Star.
"Coquelin has done really well but I would like another holding midfield player to come in, perhaps a Schneiderlin type of player.”
The Gunners boast a fabulous attacking line-up, yet there are still question marks over German World Cup winner Per Mertesacker and their overall strength in depth at the back.
Gabriel Paulista was brought in during the January transfer window, though Nicholas still feels there is room for improvement and pinpointed which star player he would love at the Emirates.
"Ideally, if the situation arose I’d like to go and get Raphael Varane from Real Madrid, that’s who I’d really love Arsenal to get,” he added.
Do Arsenal need two more players to compete for the Premier League title?
Following the signings of Danny Welbeck and Alexis Sanchez, the Gunners have the perfect balance up-front and such strength in depth that they arguably boast the best attack in England.
However, midfield and the defence have been problematic. Coquelin and Laurent Koscielny are wonderful footballers and vitally important, but what happens if either picks up a long-term injury?
The lack of real strength in depth in such positions is evident, and with the task of balancing European football with a title challenge notoriously difficult, the Gunners need to add bodies in these two key areas.