Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta believes that the Gunners need multiple transfer windows before they can start competing for titles.
The three-time Premier League winners finished outside the top four for the first time since 1995/96 in 2016/17 and have failed to return to the Champions League since - enduring sixth, fifth and eighth-place finishes in the seasons that followed.
Unai Emery's tumultuous 18-month reign ensued a pretty torrid end to Arsene Wenger's historic spell.
Mikel Arteta has since taken the reins at the Emirates, and although there have been sporadic signs of progression since his December appointment - including an FA Cup triumph in the summer - the Gunners are currently languishing in mid-table after nine games in 2020/21.
Nevertheless, Arteta's job remains a mightily difficult one, with time and patience required under a novice manager who has all the makings of a fine coach.
The Spaniard is fully aware of the sizeable task at hand in regard to transforming the Gunners back into title challengers, saying: "That [will] take a few windows at least to do that," when asked by Sky Sports how long such a turnaround could take.
"To establish yourself to compete at the level of certain clubs in this league, which is nearly 100 points, it takes time.
Arteta further emphasised the need for time and patience.
"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.
"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," the Arsenal boss added.
Arteta's plea for patience comes after former Gunner turned pundit Paul Merson criticised the Spaniard, asking: "‘Where are Arsenal going? People say you can see what Arteta is trying to do, but I’m not sure."