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Koscielny: Arsenal need at least four signings to challenge
Laurent Koscielny says Arsene Wenger needs to buy at least four new players - including a top-class striker - this summer to make Arsenal genuine title contenders.
Arsenal, who won the FA Cup to end a long trophy drought, led the Premier League for long spells last season, staying in the top two places from late September until March. However, they slipped to a final fourth place finish after crushing defeats to rivals: 5-1 at Liverpool and 6-0 at Chelsea.
Those losses, coupled with injuries to midfielders Aaron Ramsey and Jack Wilshere, severely exposed Arsenal's squad limitations.
"We'll need a goalkeeper, a right-back, a midfielder and a striker," Koscielny told The Associated Press at France's pre-World Cup training camp.
"It's important to have a minimum of these four players so that we'll be better able to challenge over the course of a whole season against teams like Manchester City, Chelsea or [Manchester] United. Winning the FA Cup can change things and lead to other players coming."
Arsenal missed Ramsey's scoring touch and striker Olivier Giroud, who scored 16 league goals, had to cpoe with a heavy schedule, starting 36 of 38 league games, as Wenger's only other options were Nicklas Bendtner and Yaya Sanogo.
Koscielny said: "We need to recruit a very, very good striker, because it's important for us, for competition for places, because Olivier needs that to become even better. Having a striker who scores more than 30 goals a season can help us win the Premier League. Compared to the squads like Manchester City, even United, Chelsea. ... You can see there's a certain difference."
Arsenal beat Hull 3-2 in extra time in a thrilling FA Cup final last month. Defeat would have been hugely damaging for Wenger, who was under severe pressure to deliver.
"It was a relief for everyone. We felt a weight coming off us. We made the most of it when we celebrated our trophy, it was an extraordinary moment," Koscielny said. "Thanks to this trophy, we'll be able to play more freely in the years to come without this pressure hanging over us, thinking 'we must win a trophy.'"
"We're all happy," Koscielny said as he reacted to the manager's refreshed commitment. "He's the one who brought me over here and gave me my chance. A lot of players owe him. It was important for us that he signed again."
Koscielny, 28, also recently signed a new contract which commits him to Arsenal until 2019. "I feel good at this club, I'm trusted," he said. "I play regularly, so I didn't have any wish to leave."