Mikel Arteta says Arsenal are "still active" in the transfer market but warned it might take more than "one or two windows" for him to build the squad that he wants.
Arsenal have brought in Willian, Gabriel Magalhaes and Dani Ceballos so far this summer, but have struggled to move players on - with Henrikh Mkhitaryan the only senior player to leave the club.
Arteta admits that has left his squad unbalanced ahead of the new season and that there is still plenty of work to be done before the window closes on October 6.
“We are still active in the market,” he said. “We are looking at different options, with players in and out. At the moment the squad balance is not ideal and what we want to achieve. There is still some work to do but we have to bear in mind the complication of this market and the complexity as well.
“Numbers wise, some positions are overbooked and some others, in terms of specific qualities that we need, they are still not there.
“But it’s going to be very difficult to achieve what we want in one window or two windows. It’s a process, it has to be evolving and most importantly it has to be a sustainable model that we can consistently fit in using our academy players.”
Lyon’s sporting director Juninho has admitted that Arsenal technical director Edu has spoken to him about Aouar and discussed the possibly of including Matteo Guendouzi in a swap.
“Houssem Aouar is really well liked by Arteta,” said Juninho. “There were some discussions for Guendouzi, who is also a good player. He was brought up during the discussion.
“But we don’t need his profile, we were very clear. If it is like that, we are not interested at all, we cut the conversation, that is where things ended.”
When pressed on his interest in Aouar, Arteta was staying tight-lipped. “I don’t want to talk about players at other clubs,” he replied.
The Spaniard also refused to be drawn on whether Guendouzi’s mindset would be impacted by being offered elsewhere this summer.
He did, however, say that the French midfielder had been training well, having been brought back into the group following his exclusion from the squad during the final weeks of last season.
“Matteo has been training like any other player in the squad,” said Arteta.
“Obviously it’s a new season, we had some really positive conversations between both parties and now he’s back with the group training. He’s been training really well.”
Alexandre Lacazette is another player who has been linked with a move away this summer, but Arteta says the France international has told him he wants to stay and fight for his place.
“He’s really happy here,” said the Spaniard. “He wants to keep improving and keep contributing to the team.
“I know how good he is, the impact he’s having. He knows about the competition we have with the front players so he needs to demand himself to be the best striker at this football club, the same as the rest.
“He was very happy to hear that and the way he’s been training and conducting himself has been excellent.”
When asked whether Lacazette had told him he wanted to stay, Arteta added: “Yes, I think he is very happy here and that’s what I got from that conversation.”