Arsenal have been linked with a number of players over the past week from the lower leagues. Can they do better?
It is no secret Arsenal will be under pressure to spend in January; with money banked for the sales of Alex Song and Robin van Persie, the Gunners decided to sit on it on deadline day in August.
Now after suffering his worst start to a Premier League season for Arsenal, manager Arsene Wenger is under pressure to not only bring in players, but quality ones.
He certainly did that in the summer, Santi Cazorla is absolutely top drawer, Lukas Podolski is of proven pedigree and will only improve, while Olivier Giroud is already beginning to win round the fans after a slow start.
What supporters want to see if more of the same, and in key areas. Potentially another striker, a defensive midfielder, and a left-back. It is also arguable a left-winger is needed to free Podolski to move into the centre.
So the rumour mill has been buzzing over the past month or so, and will continue to do so between now and January.
Over the past week the club have been linked with players from the Championship. Supporters may well ask themselves if the club should be setting it's sights higher.
The three players concerned are Kieran Tripper (Burnley), Wilfried Zaha (Crystal Palace), and Will Hughes (Derby).
Before we take a quick look at each player - One key question should be relevant. Are players from Burnley, Crystal Palace and Derby going to end Arsenal's seven year silverware drought?
On first glance, and when the facts are presented simplistically as above, you'd have to say probably not, but hold there for a moment.
Before they are discarded, each of the above trio do offer something interesting to the Gunners.
Zaha is now and England international winger, and is one of the Championship's brightest talents. Looking at the club badge and level is no finite way to judge a player's potential.
Arsenal snapped up Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain just over a year ago from Southampton, and he has been a big success. Likewise Carl Jenkinson was bought from Charlton who were in League One at the time.
So they might be worth a look at after all. There are two problems with Zaha. Mainly that he has been hyped up beyond realistic proportion. Is he as good as is being made out? We can only tell when somebody takes the gamble on him. The other issue is a knock-on effect of the first- Crystal Palace will ask for £15 million plus for his signature, at which point Arsenal may decide to simply walk away - Or get outbid.
Over to Kieran Trippier, the Burnley right-back, he could just be a shrewd pick-up. The youngster came through the Manchester City youth system, and has made more than 100 appearances in the Championship. He is also an England under-21 international. If the Gunners are concerned about Bacary Sagna leaving in the summer, Trippier would be a worthwhile investment. He could compete with Carl Jenkinson for club and country for the best part of the next decade, and drive each other on. More good news, he would cost under £5 million.
The third player is Will Hughes of Derby, branded the 'next Liam Brady' a tag sure to spark up the interest of Arsenal fans. The right midfielder is only 17, yet has forced his way into the Derby County side this season, playing 16 times and scoring twice. He was capped by England's under-21 side this week, and is a very exciting prospect, available for just £4 million. If Arsene Wenger is worried about Theo Walcott leaving, Hughes like Trippier would be a bargain replacement, even if he is more of a long-term project than say a Zaha.
So the above trio certainly can offer Arsenal positives, and none of them are bad signings. Whether they should be top targets depends on your view of who the club may and could be going for.
If these three were the Gunners' three acquisitions in January, we're betting there will be fans who aren't happy, accusing Wenger of a lack of ambition. And that is entirely their call. If fans want to see the club bringing in a Fernando Llorente up front, or an unlikely move for Edin Dzeko, it is their prerogative to argue so.
The issue is, a player as talented and available as Cazorla only becomes available every so often, and in January the pickings are always slim. Fans may just have to continue showing patience.
Zaha, Trippier, and Hughes - Good enough for Arsenal? Let us know your view
image: © Ronnie Macdonal