As Ranieri prepared to take his first coaching session, he was left in no doubt that central defence was the priority area for strengthening.
Trotters boss Owen Coyle said: "I don’t know how Arsenal’s finances work, but they know he’s an outstanding player.
"The valuations in August were between the two chairmen, and, of course, it never came to fruition.
"Now there’s the problem of the January window, and I think there will be more than just Arsenal coming back in for him then. We will deal with at the time."