Arsenal will need multiple transfer windows "at least" before they can mount a credible challenge for the Premier League title, according to boss Mikel Arteta.
The Gunners have not finished inside the top four since they wound up as runners-up to Leicester City in 2016 under Arsene Wenger, with last season's eighth-place finish representing their worst result for 25 years in the top-flight.
Former Manchester City assistant Arteta was brought in last December to revive fortunes at the Emirates Stadium following a poor start to the campaign by Unai Emery, and he guided the club to an FA Cup triumph at the first time of asking in August.
Yet having failed to even secure Champions League football for the past four seasons, the task of transforming Arsenal back into genuine title contenders looks to be a sizeable one, with just one win in their last five league games compounding their former player's problems at the helm.
Arteta however says that he is under no illusions that there is an easy fix to the matter at hand and revealed that he believes it could be a matter of years before his side reclaim their former standing, aided by multiple transfer periods.
"That [will] take a few windows at least to do that," the Spaniard responded to Sky Sports when asked how long it could take his team to complete such a turnaround. "To establish yourself to compete at the level of certain clubs in this league, which is nearly 100 points, it takes time.
"In football, time is very precious and people are very impatient. But if you don't respect the processes and you ask certain people to do certain things when the foundations are not there, it's a really dangerous thing to do.
"I know we all want to see Arsenal at the top of the league. My only intention every time is to prepare the football match. Where we get, time will tell. There's still a lot of things that are going to happen.
"We have to prepare for difficult moments. We knew that right from the start because it's not something that has happened in the last year - it has happened many years in the past.
"To flick that into a league with 38 games; that's a big challenge. But we're all ready."