The manner in which yet another Arsenal title challenge has crumbled before their eyes inevitably raises questions about manager Arsene Wenger.
Despite the majestic job the Frenchman has done as he closes in on two decades in North London, memories of his early dominance in English football are slowly fading away.
Clearly, all is not right in the Emirates hot-seat and the tide appears to be turning on Wenger more than ever.
However, due to the status he has earned at the club, the waves are still some way off submerging the Gunners chief. With a year to go on his current deal, perhaps the next campaign will be one final throw of the dice.
The need to improve the squad is yet another criticism that can be levelled at him, though you get the feeling that one summer of lavish spending would heal that particular wound.
Though it’s not something we would naturally associate with Wenger, it is not out of the realms of possibility. Should there be a mutual decision not to renew his contract, perhaps he will wish to go out in one final blaze of glory.
After all, he has splashed over £70m on the likes of Mesut Ozil and Alexis Sanchez in the past, so it’s not like the thought of spending big money is utterly alien to him.
With that in mind, this summer could represent a hugely exciting period for everyone connected with Arsenal. That thought may seem silly now, but the vast amounts of cash available make it a very realistic possibility.
So, it’s time to play devil’s advocate: who could the Gunners draft in to finally secure them a league title after 12 years?
Here are FIVE big names to make Arsenal title challengers once again.
Real Madrid striker Karim Benzema was one of the major names linked with a move to north London last summer, though he ultimately stayed in the Spanish capital.
However, the personal problems that have dogged him since have reportedly put his position in Madrid under threat. With Los Blancos tipped to launch an overhaul of their squad, perhaps this summer represents a natural time to call an end to the French striker’s time there.
Simply put, he is one of the best centre-forwards in the world. Few would wish to shift a player of his quality on, though Florentino Perez rarely takes such matters into account.
Not only is the 28-year old a clinical finisher, he links play better than most and would fit right in to the intricate style of play deployed by Arsenal.
Olivier Giroud is praised for his hold-up play, though his international team-mate would be a huge upgrade in every aspect.
Laurent Koscielny is an excellent centre-back and it’s scary to think just where the Gunners would be if he left in the summer. However, the frequency of his Herculean performances would have to improve at an almost impossible rate in order to make up for the deficiencies of the man next to him, Per Mertesacker.
The German has a wonderful pedigree, though nothing he has done on a consistent basis for much of the last 12 months has lived up to it.
A replacement is desperately required if Wenger has any hope of pushing on. Many names have been linked, though few as often as Juventus star Daniele Rugani.
The classy Italian would be an excellent partner for Koscielny. His prowess on the ball would help start attacks from the back and while he isn’t the quickest, the 21-year old is nowhere near as lumbering as Mertesacker.
When musing about just what Arsenal need, the gaping holes in their defence, attack and holding midfield areas instantly spring to mind.
However, despite having a number of big attacking midfield names, many of them often disappoint. The future of Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain has been cast into doubt, while Theo Walcott has flattered to deceive for much of the last decade.
Alex Iwobi is emerging as a talent and Alexis Sanchez is no doubt a star, though the Gunners could use more dependable wide options in order to help the former Barcelona man.
Valencia winger Sofiane Feghouli, who impressed at the World Cup, is due to be out of contract at the end of the season. Though he’s not a stellar name, few players of his quality will be available on a free this summer.
The Algerian is versatile across the frontline, able to play on both wings and can float inside to wreak havoc. At 26, he would represent a solid signing on a free, becoming a valuable squad option.
Sevilla star Grzegorz Krychowiak has emerged as one of the top defensive midfielders in Europe thanks to his good form for the Europa League holders.
The Polish international may not be Sergio Busquets, but top class anchor men are hard to come by, and the 26-year old brings a controlled tenacity to the role.
Nicknamed ‘Le Bucheron’, translated to ‘The Woodcutter’, the former Reims man would help address an area that has dogged Wenger ever since he last won a Premier League all those years ago.
Though Francis Coquelin has worked wonders in the role, the likes of Mikel Arteta and Mathieu Flamini will likely depart this summer, meaning the Gunners will be a little light in that department.
Moving for the Pole would finally give the club strength in such a crucial area.
It’s tempting to suggest either Isco or James Rodriguez, both reportedly up for sale at Real Madrid, in the list but it’s unlikely the Spanish giants would want to offload either if Benzema is to leave for North London.
While Lyon’s Nabil Fekir is not the exact same type of player, the 22-year-old French international would add further strength to the attacking midfield department.
His season has been curtailed by injury, though the Les Bleus star was in wonderful form during the early stages of the campaign. Should he arrive, he’s add a potent goal threat from a wide area and the ability to interchange with the likes of Mesut Ozil in the middle of the park.