Arsenal need to take swift, decisive action in the transfer market after their 8-2 defeat to Manchester United but it will be very difficult for Arsene Wenger to sign the players he needs to drag his side out of this slump.
What player of any note is going to want to go to Arsenal? Yes, they are in the Champions League group stage but can we really believe that they are going to get through to the latter stages?
As a top-class player you do not want to join a side that is focused on producing kids, you want to join a club to win medals, to go down in history. Trophies come first, and at present Arsenal do not look like a club capable of challenging for them.
Wenger has to pull something out of the bag in the wake of what was a humiliating afternoon at Old Trafford. Arsenal must sign players who can guarantee they will be in the Champions League next season as at present they don't look capable of getting fourth place.
The Gunners need players who can come straight into the side. It is no good bringing in more youngsters and exposing them to the kind of treatment that Wenger's players suffered at the weekend. You cannot expect people like Carl Jenkinson and Francis Coquelin just to be able to compete at that level; they need experienced players around them.
Arsenal's problem is that the selling clubs in the final couple of days of the transfer window know they can hold them to ransom given the club's predicament. Bolton will stick another £2 million on Gary Cahill's price tag as they know how desperate Arsenal are. And if you are Cahill, you would have to ask yourself if you want to put yourself under that kind of pressure by joining Arsenal in the state they are in, going into a situation where the expectation is on you to solve the defensive problems afflicting the side.
And make no mistake about it, those defensive problems are crippling, even when you consider that Wenger had Bacary Sagna, Thomas Vermaelen and Kieran Gibbs missing on Sunday.
Wenger always defends his young players but they looked absolutely clueless. Jenkinson was sent off and you could see he was a red card waiting to happen as he had no positional sense at all. He had an awful afternoon. He was leaving so much space on the inside, leaving big gaps between himself and the right-sided centre-half, and got caught out twice. I feel sorry for him because he hasn't played enough football and he shouldn't be playing in a game at that level.
Armand Traore was all over the place at left-back as well and didn't cover himself in glory with the headed clearance for Ashley Young's first goal. Johan Djourou was at fault for Danny Welbeck's goal as he didn't attack the ball and really the only Arsenal player who emerged with some credit was the goalkeeper, Wojciech Szczesny, and how often have we been able to say that about Arsenal in recent seasons? Hardly ever since David Seaman retired.
For the Welbeck goal, Djourou and Laurent Koscielny were guilty of naivety and it showed that they aren't a settled partnership. They failed with basic defending. When Nani was played onside for his goal, Arsenal had two players who were four yards behind the players on the near side. There was no communication, but you shouldn't even have to speak to each other to know not to drop in behind. You get closer to them and stay with them. It was schoolboy stuff, men against boys, whatever you want to call it. And these are not new criticisms of Arsenal.
It has been said for some time that Wenger needs to reassess the structure of his defensive coaching. He has Pat Rice by his side, a man who was a fantastic defender, but they need to bring someone else in with fresh ideas and a fresh approach. First of all they need to learn how to defend as they haven't done that for many a year now. I think they need to start again at the back, and go back to the days of boring, boring Arsenal and win a few games 1-0.
I read Arsene Wenger said that he still feels the club is going in the right direction, which is a real concern. I don't think many fans or indeed members of the board would agree with that assessment. All they know is that they have been beaten 8-2. You can forget about the rest. United are a team Arsenal used to compete against and now they have been demolished at Old Trafford. Manchester United won't score eight goals again this season against a Premier League side and the manner of the defeat tells you there is something very wrong with Arsenal at the moment.
These kinds of defeats hang over you as a player for years. You are reminded of them by opposition fans and occasionally the result will just pop into your mind or into conversations with former team-mates. You never forget. It is the worst feeling in the world.