Arsenal lost ground in top-four race with a goalless draw against Burnley; Mikel Arteta admits Arsenal are finding it difficult to strengthen their squad this month; Gunners yet to make any January additions despite player availability issues
Sunday 23 January 2022 19:27, UK
Mikel Arteta is still hopeful Arsenal will bring in signings to take the side to the "next level" but admits the January transfer window is proving "difficult" and "complicated".
The Gunners suffered a blow in the top-four race as they were held to a goalless draw by Burnley on Sunday, their poor performance, and threadbare squad, underlining the need for reinforcements.
Arsenal are winless in five games in all competitions since the turn of the year and have failed to score in four consecutive games for the first time since December 2005.
Arteta was forced to name five untested academy players on his bench against the Premier League's bottom side due to a host of senior players being unavailable, and admits the need for strengthening is urgent as the end of the window draws closer.
Asked if he still hopes to add to his squad before the transfer deadline next Monday, he said: "It was what we planned but the market is difficult and complicated.
"We knew that, but it's a lot to manage. We have to make the right decisions with players we believe are going to really help us and try to bring the ones that can take us to the next level.
"We are certainly trying, but whether we are going to be able to do it, let's see. It's not only about our intention, but a lot of [things] that are needed to happen.
"The players who come here have to take us to the next level. We already have a level and we want to set much better standards than we already have. That's how we want to recruit."
The most pressing area in need of attention is up front, where Alexandre Lacazette endured another poor afternoon against Burnley, missing Arsenal's best chance when he prodded wide from an Emile Smith Rowe cut-back in the second half.
With Lacazette in poor form and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang out of favour and unavailable, Arteta admitted Arsenal are paying the price for a lack of quality in their attack.
"The way we started the game, it was slow and we didn't play forward enough and didn't have enough urgency," he said. "Probably because of Thursday, it could be one of the reasons.
"Afterwards, we picked the game up and started to get better, and certainly the second half was completely different. We were much more dynamic, we had more penetration, we played forward and we had better positions to [threaten] in behind.
"We created a number of situations, shots, crosses. But to win this match you need to have a different level of quality, and we lacked that today.
"With the amount of situations we generated, someone has to win you the game if you want to be on top."
He added: "It's true that in the last four games we haven't done it.
"Today, again, it's not about the situations that you are able to create but the quality of the execution and the number of shots you need to put on target to win against a team like Burnley."
Arsenal have been linked with a number of players this month, including Fiorentina striker Dusan Vlahovic and Juventus midfielder Arthur Melo, but despite letting a string of players leave the club, including Ainsley Maitland-Niles and Sead Kolasinac, they are yet to bring in any new faces.
Who will be on the move in January?
The January transfer window opens on Saturday, January 1, 2022 and closes at 11pm on Monday, January 31.
Keep up-to-date with all the latest transfer news and rumours in our dedicated Transfer Centre blog on Sky Sports' digital platforms. You can also catch up with the ins, outs and analysis on Sky Sports News.