Wenger must buy or say bye to title hopes
Expect another season of mediocrity if Wenger fails to strengthen Gunners
Being older, traditionally, equates to being wiser - except in Arsene Wenger's case.
At a time when the English Premier League's arms race has already advanced to a critical stage, the Arsenal manager continues to dawdle in the transfer market.
Waiting for a supposed opportune moment which often never comes, the Frenchman remains a firm advocate of the values held by his late compatriot Edith Piaf.
Regretting nothing has become an annual occurrence at the Emirates Stadium.
That chronic failure to prepare for the harsh realities of football exposes the reasons why a long-awaited title charge has yet to be seen through in its entirety.
Hitting the ground running is the current order of business for most EPL clubs swimming in the riches of a lucrative new broadcasting deal.
A fear of being caught resting on their laurels has prompted unprecedented levels of spending.
Even in a hugely inflated market, Chelsea, Manchester City, Tottenham and Manchester United are among those that have added fresh dimensions to their already well-stocked attacking options with players that offer outlets of both creativity and contingency.
Firepower was once synonymous with Arsenal - from a fearsome front-line down to their military-inspired nickname.
Wenger, too, was a master in the market; effortlessly marrying an ability to spend big while finding bargains in the process.
Since those heady days of cut-price deals for Thierry Henry, Patrick Vieira and Cesc Fabregas, however, he has found himself taking the cheap and cheerful route, except maybe for the signings of Alexis Sanchez and Mesut Oezil.
Attempts to prise Luis Suarez away from Liverpool in 2013 saw that cheeseparing stoop to an entirely new level by tagging on a £1 coin to the end of a £40 million ($71.7m) bid in an opportunistic attempt to trigger the striker's automatic release clause.
"What do you think they're smoking over there at (the) Emirates?" Liverpool's principal owner John W Henry responded at the time.
Wenger clearly remains in a grip of that supposed haziness with his unerring belief in both caution and optimism in the market.
His financial conservatism continues at speed despite warnings from the club's recent past.
Last summer's solitary signing of Petr Cech saw attempts to end a 12-year wait to taste EPL success fall short at the midway point of the previous season.
The former Chelsea goalkeeper may have salvaged points, but the absence of a Plan B when injury denied them the mercurial brilliance of Sanchez was notable.
Little has changed to remedy those failings, 12 months on, either.
To date, only Granit Xhaka, a Swiss midfielder, and striker Takuma Asano have found their way into Gunners colours.
At 21, the largely unknown Japanese alone will not cure their ills when the burden of expectancy on Sanchez and others begins to take its toll.
Since the high-profile pursuit of Jamie Vardy ran cold, following his decision to remain with champions Leicester City, so have all other potential avenues.
Gonzalo Higuain and Julian Draxler remain touted as potential alternatives but speculation remains the only yardstick of intent for the sought-after pair.
With 36 goals for Napoli last season, Higuain represents a perfect fit, both as much-needed competition for Olivier Giroud and to supplement the shortfall when Sanchez, Danny Welbeck and others in Arsenal's抯 forward line succumb to the inevitability of injury.
With less than four weeks remaining before the start of the new season, Wenger is again in danger of seeing Arsenal being left behind far more than in any previous years.
Leaving it late again will only result in a season of the same, predictable outcome.
'Come back with hunger'
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger will give a number of his key players time off to "regenerate" before the new season - even if it limits his options for the opening Premier League game against Liverpool.
While the likes of Theo Walcott, Per Mertesacker, Gabriel, Francis Coquelin and even Jack Wilshere - just a couple of weeks after England's exit from Euro 2016 - have reported back to London Colney, Wenger is determined to afford extra holiday to those who have endured a busy summer schedule.
Wales midfielder Aaron Ramsey, German playmaker Mesut Oezil and French duo Olivier Giroud and Laurent Koscielny have all been granted an additional break following a draining European Championship campaign.
It remains to be seen how long it will take Alexis Sanchez to recover from the ankle injury he sustained in helping Chile win the Copa America in the United States.
Wenger, though, insists he will not risk the long-term impact of those returning internationals over the course of the 2016/2017 campaign, the start of which is now only a matter of weeks away.
"You consider the rest time because France was a long, long tournament and I believe that they need four weeks' holiday because they need to recover from that," Wenger told Arsenal Player.
"It takes you two or three weeks to regenerate... to recover completely, and they need to come back with hunger. That disappointment to lose a final, it takes some time to recover from that.
"I believe the club benefit from experiences at the top level, and the mental experiences as well that they have gone through with such a huge pressure. Of course, in the longer term, you benefit from that."
Arsenal are set to kick off their pre-season preparations with a friendly away at Lens on Friday, before heading out to the United States for a short two-match tour of San Jose and Los Angeles.
Wenger's squad have further warm-up games against Viking FK in Norway and then meet Manchester City in Sweden before their domestic campaign opens against Liverpool at the Emirates Stadium on Aug 14.
Arsenal have bolstered the squad by signing £35-million ($62.8m) Switzerland international Granit Xhaka and are linked with Lyon's French forward Alexandre Lacazette, Napoli striker Gonzalo Higuain, Leicester's Riyad Mahrez and German international Julian Draxler, whose club Wolfsburg have ruled out the midfielder leaving the club this summer.
Inter Milan defender Jeison Murillo and AC Milan forward Carlos Bacca are also reported targets. - PA Sport.