Mikel Arteta insists Arsenal are prepared to dip into the transfer market in January if his squad remains as “exposed” as in recent weeks.
The Gunners have fared better than some of their Premier League rivals in terms of injuries but are without five players for Thursday’s London derby at home to West Ham.
Thomas Partey, Jurrien Timber, Fabio Vieira and Takehiro Tomiyasu are all still sidelined while Kai Havertz is banned having collected five yellow cards.
Arsenal invested over £200million on new recruits in the summer, including the £105million club-record signing of Declan Rice from the Hammers.
The England midfielder was joined at the Emirates Stadium by Havertz and Timber as Arsenal spent big having missed out on the title despite being top for 248 days last season.
With Arteta unsure of return dates for his injured quartet and the festive fixture schedule testing any squad in the division – the Spaniard confirmed Arsenal do have plans should they feel the need to act in January.
“At the moment, it is very difficult. We are really short,” he said.
“We have positions that we have been very exposed for the last six weeks and hopefully we are going to get players back. In what condition and when?
“That’s a question mark and as well because we have some long-term injuries still for certain players that give us a lot of versatility and that’s an issue.
“We have certain targets, ideas if things happen. As well, we don’t know how the squad is going to look in two weeks’ time and you have to be always prepared for that.
“But it is a very, very tricky market that shifts very quickly and it is quite unpredictable as well – and you have to be prepared. We will be prepared and we will try to make the right calls.
“If there is something that we can (do to) improve the squad and that needs appear, and we cannot fulfil it with players here, we are always going to be open to do that because we want to be stronger.”