Arsenal may have spent well over £100m in the summer, but their defensive Achilles heel is still rife.
Unai Emery bought in the likes of David Luiz, Kieran Tierney and Nicolas Pepe in the summer as he aims to crack the top four.
But the signing he perhaps needed the most is still applying his trade in France despite signing for £27m.
Of course, that is one William Saliba who has been immediately loaned back to Saint-Etienne before moving to the Emirates Stadium next summer.
Saliba is highly thought of and tipped to reach the top despite only making a hand full of first-team appearances.
While that is good news for Emery and the Arsenal fans it could spell the end for one or more of the club’s floundering centre-backs.
The Gunners have chopped and changed between playing two or three central defenders since Emery arrived last summer.
Maybe that inconsistency has affected the lack of solidity in Arsenal’s defence, but sooner rather than later the problem must be addressed and players will inevitably pay the price.
Shkodran Mustafi, rightly or wrongly, has a reputation for being error-prone and that cannot last if Arsenal want to return to the success of yesteryear.
The German was signed for £35m under Arsene Wenger and was seen as the defender they had been crying out for. It doesn’t take a genius to realise that has not been the case and Emery’s treatment of Mesut Ozil shows he possesses a ruthless streak.
Mustafi could be the next man to bear the brunt of that ruthlessness with David Luiz, Sokratis Papastathopoulos and Rob Holding all above him in the pecking order. One man that doesn’t have the benefit of that though is Calum Chambers.
Ever since he joined from Southampton in 2014 for £16m he has not convinced and last year spent the season on loan at Fulham.
That spell at Craven Cottage was ironically maybe the best and worst thing that happened to him. The 24-year-old was named the club’s player of the year despite their relegation from the Premier League.
He has since made five appearances back at Arsenal but looked anything like the player ready to take ownership of a defence lacking in leaders.
Chambers could be the next player to be perceived as a solid performer for a team in the bottom-half, but not quite up to standard for a team with Champions League ambitions.
The fact he hasn’t nailed himself down to a position is also going to count against him. He’s played at the base of a midfield, in the centre of defence and as a full-back.
His versatility may save his bacon elsewhere, but Arsenal need specialists if they are to finish in the top four.
Hector Bellerin’s return to fitness is anything but timely for the former Saints star.
The outcome of this season at the Emirates is unlikely to make his, or Mustafi’s, future any clearer or easier.
Fail to make the top four and the club will have to invest again and players deemed not good enough will be moved on with even more vigour.
Return to the Champions League and there will be another push in the market to ensure they don’t simply make up the numbers.
Chambers and Mustafi could prove to be victims of Arsenal’s ambition, Saliba’s arrival and a realisation that their defence is still not good enough.