Houssem Aouar should not be a priority for Arsenal with question marks still hanging over their defence, according to John Barnes.
The Gunners were eyeing the Lyon midfielder and recently had a £31m bid knocked back by the French side.
It looked as if they were struggling to meet the Frenchman’s valuation before the Ligue 1 club opted against selling the player.
Arteta was keen to add Aouar as he sought another midfielder, but has been warned that tightening up his defence should be his paramount concern.
Gabriel has arrived from Lille while William Saliba, who has signed last summer, has finally joined up with the Arsenal squad.
But Barnes is adamant that any late transfer activity should be focused on strengthening their back four.
“If I was Arsenal or Mikel Arteta, I wouldn’t be worried about Houssem Aouar, I would be looking at my defence,” he told BonusCodeBets.
“Arsenal need more defenders and ones with quality. It’s not in attack where they need to strengthen, their attackers are good.
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“Once you get at the Arsenal back four you can really cause them problems and that has been their problem for a while.
“You compare them to Liverpool, whose midfield three support the defence which consequently allows the front three to flourish.
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“That’s the difference, working as a cohesive team unit with and without the ball. Lots of the big teams need quality defensive players and not just exciting attacking talent.
“They’re linked with Thomas Partey who is a good defensive midfield player with a lot of attributed that could really help Arsenal he could be the solution they need to stop conceding so many goals, especially away from home.”
Optimism is growing on the red half of north London that Arsenal could make a push for the top four this term.
But their defeat at Liverpool on Monday night did broadcast the huge gulf that still exists between them and the elite.