The arrivals of Van Dijk and Alisson at Liverpool in 2018 were hailed as defining moments as Jurgen Klopp’s side made the step up from contenders to become first European and then Premier League champions.
The Gunners are pushing for a return to the top four themselves, having exceeded expectations this season following a dismal start to the campaign.
So far, Arteta’s revolution has been built on young talent, whether graduating from the club’s academy like Bukayo Saka and Emile Smith Rowe, or that acquired during a significant spending spree last summer, when the likes of Martin Odegaard, Ben White and Aaron Ramsdale were among six new arrivals.
However, Carragher believes that in order to bridge the gap to Chelsea, Liverpool and Manchester City, they must now kick on again in the transfer market.
“Arsenal need to get fourth, and when you’re likening it to what Klopp did at Liverpool, Arsenal are at the stage where they haven’t got a [Cristiano] Ronaldo. They haven’t got a [Harry] Kane,” Carragher told Gary Neville’s The Overlap.
“The next two or three signings for Arsenal have to be Alisson, have to be Van Dijk, what they were for Liverpool. Where they take you from fighting for the top four, getting in the top four, to making that jump where you’re competing with City, Liverpool, United, Chelsea.”
While it was defensive improvements that made the difference for Liverpool, Arsenal’s most pressing need is up-front.
Former club captain Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang was allowed to leave for free in January, while Eddie Nketiah and Alexandre Lacazette are both out of contract in the summer.
“That’s Arsenal’s next thing,” Carragher added. “They need a really top centre-forward who can really take them up a level.”