Arsenal transfer news: Gunners 'need two or three players' in January, says Ray Parlour after late goal costs them at Liverpool

Former Arsenal midfielder laments lack of leadership at the back

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The Independent Football

Former Arsenal midfielder Ray Parlour has said the Gunners need to sign "two or three" defensive players in the January transfer window.

Arsenal lead away to 10-man Liverpool until the 96th-minute when Martin Skrtel was able to power home a header from a corner.

Parlour, who won three Premier League titles and four FA Cups with the north London club, said Arsene Wenger needs to improve his defensive options when the transfer window opens in a couple of weeks.

"There’s no doubt we need a centre-half," he said on Sportlobster. "A solid defender more than a ball-player. Sol Campbell wasn’t the greatest on the ball but no-one was getting past him. He was a great defender and a force in our box. I'm sure Arsene knows we need a defender.

"Whether the players are available is another matter. Down the spine of the team, defensively, we need a few more. Down the flanks I think we’re good; we need two or three players."

When asked which players he would sign if he were manager, the former midfielder said Borussia Dortmund captain Mats Hummels should be the top target, but admitted it could be tough to sign him.

"Winston Reid has been mentioned, but I’m not sure he’s the quality we need. Mats Hummels would be great, a World Cup winner and a good player. For midfield, I would go for [Morgan] Schneiderlin if you can get him.

"He's at a good age. Lots of players are linked. [Sami] Khedira would have been great. Players that have played in big games won't be phased by anything. Schneiderlin hasn’t, but I can see him improving."

Despite playing against a man extra for the final minutes after Fabio Borini had been sent off, Liverpool were still able to put pressure on the Gunners and eventually find the crucial goal.

"It’s a problem [Arsenal's ability to see off games]. I’m just trying to think, when I was there, I’m sure we didn’t do zonal marking. The team dropped off a lot deeper today and it makes it very frustrating to concede late. We got ourselves into a good position away from home. Defensively they’ve been like this for the last few seasons. At the moment, it’s been a nightmare as the team can’t see a game out."

He added: "I think the defence drop off too deep trying to hang on. For that goal, Skrtel got a run on [Calum] Chambers, got a run on [Per] Mertesacker and once he gets in front of them it’s too late. He got a free header and he just had to put it away.

Borussia Dortmund defender Mats Hummels would be 'great'

"I think the players just automatically drop off as pressure builds. Maybe Mertesacker was a little scared as he isn't the quickest. We should have moved up 10 yards and squeezed it. Arsenal left too many gaps. I think we need more leaders at the back. I always go back to Tony Adams. He would have made sure we pushed up, defended, won the ball back and then ran the clock down."

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