Mikel Arteta is open to signing a striker in the January transfer window. But the Arsenal boss does not want to bring one merely to make up the numbers.

Mikel Arteta and Arsenal are set to resume their Premier League campaign with a London Derby against West Ham United at the Emirates. Despite sitting five points clear at the top of the table, many continue to doubt their credentials to win the title, and with Gabriel Jesus out injured, the questions have only increased.

Jesus joined Arsenal from Manchester City in a £45 million deal and has become an important player under Mikel Arteta. He may not have turned out to be prolific in front of goal, but his presence and overall contribution have lifted Arsenal to another level.

The injury sustained at the World Cup will keep Jesus sidelined for at least three months. The coming period is considered vital in the title race. And without the Brazilian, Arsenal may find it tough going against Manchester City’s challenges.

Paul Merson recently highlighted the problem and claimed Arsenal would fall off the cliff. He also doubted their credentials to finish in the top four and cast his reservations on Eddie Nketiah’s ability to replace Jesus adequately.

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While the calls for signing a replacement striker have increased significantly, Arteta seems very relaxed about the situation. Arsenal are linked with Dusan Vlahovic and Memphis Depay. But neither player is concrete targets.

Tribal Football has posted comments from Arteta ahead of the West Ham game, with the Arsenal manager speaking about a potential replacement. The Spaniard has suggested that the Gunners are open to signing a forward but will only do so if the right player is available.

Arteta said, “Can we afford not getting the player that we want? That is my question. We can afford to get a striker for sure if we want one; I don’t know if he plays in League Two, in League Five, in Spain, in Portugal, in Africa. We can get a striker; I can guarantee you that. But what we can not afford to do is get a player here that is not for us. This is what we can not afford, that is for sure.

“We don’t need a body; we need players that make the team better. I think personalities that have the mentality that we want to win. And we have to focus on that. We have to be very strict with what we have done and the policy we have had to make the team successful.”

Arsenal will certainly pounce upon an opportunity to sign a new striker. But at this stage, Arteta will put his faith in Nketiah. The Gunners are also likely to move ahead with their plans to sign a winger and a central midfielder.

While a striker could prove key in the title challenge, Arteta is known to only sign players he feels would improve the team. As his comments suggest, he might be open to the right opportunity. But there are not many concrete targets that could replace Jesus at this moment.

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