Arsenal are fast becoming a second Liverpool. 'This is our year,' say the fans every summer as they look ahead to a new Premier League season. These days, you feel it is a statement being made with increasing hopefulness rather than any genuine belief that the Gunners will finally finish top of the pile in England for the first time in more than a decade.
Manchester United, Chelsea and Manchester City have all won multiple titles since Arsenal last lifted the English league trophy in 2004. Even Liverpool have got closer to the promised land of 'champions' on a couple of occasions in those 12 years and counting.
Arsene Wenger is trying to build a team capable of challenging. If you break it down by positions, he's not actually that far away from doing it. Then again, it has been this way for some time.
Throughout the squad there is great strength. Petr Cech is arguably the best goalkeeper the Premier League has ever seen; Laurent Koscielny, despite his flaws, is highly rated by most; Hector Bellerin is fast becoming one of Europe's top full-backs; Nacho Monreal isn't flashy but is reliable; the arrival of Granit Xhaka has added quality to midfield already containing the attacking creativity of Santi Cazorla and Mesut Ozil; Alexis Sanchez is always a goal threat; and Alex Iwobi offers great new hope after a breakout season in 2015/16.
But there are still major gaps. In central defence, for example, where Per Mertesacker is ageing and Gabriel Paulista has shown too often that he's not up to the task.
The most significant gap, however, remains up front. Olivier Giroud produced another healthy return last season - 24 goals in all competitions, including 16 in the Premier League - but continues to be infuriatingly inconsistent when the has the potential to be a 20+ goal striker in the league.
The less said about Theo Walcott pretending to be a striker the better.
In Jamie Vardy, Arsenal had a new number nine lined up who has just proven he has what it takes to be clinical at the highest level. Though far from starved, he wasn't exactly drowning in goal scoring chances at Leicester last season, yet still netted on 24 occasions.
At nearly 30 years of age, he wasn't a long-term solution, but an individual to get a job done for just a season or two - think along the lines of Robin van Persie joining Manchester United in 2012, if you can bear to as an Arsenal fan.
Lacking that clinical striker, with Giroud as a more than adequate backup/alternate, is a big problem. After Vardy recently committed his future to Leicester with a new long-term contract, it's arguably an even bigger one now. Simply because there are so few options to turn to instead.
Arsenal remain linked with several big name strikers but it's hard to envisage a situation where any of those will be pulling on a red and white shirt in north London.
The Gunners' interest in Karim Benzema has long since dried up, while it will take a monster sum that Arsene Wenger wouldn't be prepared to pay to capture 28-year-old Gonzalo Higuain from Napoli - the difference with Vardy was that at £20million he was relatively cheap.
Romelu Lukaku is another who, whilst much younger, would also cost the earth. On top of a huge price tag, one would additionally have to question just how good a fit such a physical centre forward would be for a team that strictly sticks to a very specific style of play. Giroud is physical too and not enough of that side of him comes out, why would Lukaku be any different?
Alvaro Morata looks as though even half a weak assurance of some first-team football will be enough to keep him at Real Madrid for at least a year. The Spaniard, like Lukaku, carries a hefty valuation that Wenger isn't likely to want to meet.
A £40million bid for Lyon forward Alexandre Lacazette doesn't seem likely either. Wenger recently refused to even talk about him for fear of sparking another media frenzy if he were to suggest that he liked the player, even just as a passing spectator.
Some Arsenal fans are fearing that signing Takuma Asano from Sanfrecce Hiroshima is Wenger's response to missing out on his first choice striker.
That isn't the case. The 21-year-old would have arrived regardless as a young talent to develop. But what the Vardy snub has left Arsenal with is a diminishing pool of options with which to strengthen the biggest weakness that is currently holding them back.
The Gunners may not miss Vardy per se, but there isn't really a feasible alternative out there.
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