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Arsenal boss Unai Emery told to sign Premier League centre-half as top six claim made

That is the opinion of former Chelsea and England midfielder Joe Cole.

Arsenal finished fifth in the Premire League last season and scored 75 goals in the process. Only league Champions Manchester City (95) and runners-up Liverpool (89) scored more goals than the Gunners mustered, but it was their defence which hindered them moving up the table.

The Gunners conceded 51 goals last season in the league, which is over double the amount City (23) and Liverpool (22) managed and only two other teams in the top 10 had a worse defence – Manchester United finished sixth having let in 54 goals and West Ham ended up in 10th despite conceding 55 goals.

Although Arsenal are on the verge of breaking their record transfer, with the signing of Nicolas Pepe for £75million from Lille, the several additions the Gunners have made in the summer are not addressing what Cole feels is their main problem – their defensive weakness.

And Cole, who is now working as a technical academy coach at Chelsea, believes Arsenal should be looking at a player like Brighton defender Lewis Dunk, who has been linked with a move to Leicester City.

“It’s not like this is something new,” Cole told talkSPORT.

“I guarantee you whoever has sat in this chair for the last 10 years talking about Arsenal would have said the same thing.

“I don’t understand why they aren’t in the running for someone like Lewis Dunk.

“If they do fall out of the top six it will be because of the policies that are in place at the club.

“They’ve been crying out for 10, maybe 15 years, to strengthen defensively and bring the right characters in.

“If they don’t do that they’ll keep conceding goals from set-pieces and conceding too many goals in general.”

Arsenal boss Unai Emery has stated he wants to improve his defence this summer, although the only defender the club has signed was then immediately loaned back to the club.

The Gunners signed William Saliba from Saint Etienne for £27m, however, the 18-year-old was loaned back to the Ligue 1 side, as the French club insisted that it was a non-negotiable condition on a transfer being agreed.

Cole feels a lack of harmony at the Emirates could be their downfall next season, but admits Arsenal still have time to rectify the situation, as the transfer window doesn’t close until August 8.

“I can’t really see anyone breaking into it, but I could possibly see Arsenal falling out of it, because there doesn’t seem to be enough harmony around the club,” Cole said about the top six teams in the Premier League.

“At Manchester United he [Ole Gunnar Solskjaer] seems to be getting his act together a little bit. I like the signings they’ve made – they’ve been good additions.

“Arsenal possibly could, but it depends on the last few days of the window.”