Arsene Wenger has surprised Arsenal fans after picking out Lauren as one of his most successful signings as manager.
The Gunners chief is considered one of the most astute businessmen in football after bringing the likes of Thierry Henry, Patrick Vieira and Robert Pires to north London. They arrived as virtual unknowns but left as legends of the game.
With so many global stars making their way through the Arsenal doors since Wenger took charge, it would surely be impossible for the manager to name one signing as his best. However, he did drop Lauren's name as a signing that particularly pleased him.
Speaking to Huawei, Arsenal's official smartphone sponsor, Wenger said: "I’d never say which player was the best, but I think it’s the signings like Lauren who you spot when nobody else does.
"He was a right midfielder who I played at right back and was one of the invincibles"
There are plenty of stars that could have been considered for a mention as well. Not only the aforementioned Pires, Vieira and Henry but also the likes of Freddie Ljungberg and Cesc Fabregas. Both were brought in for minimal fees but went on to have major contributions to the team.
As Wenger suggests, Lauren was one of the unsung heros of the Invincibles side. Along with Sol Campbell, Kolo Toure and Ashley Cole, the Cameroonian played a part in one of the most formidable defences the Premier League has ever seen.
Lauren was originally signed as a right midfielder but filled in for the retirement of Lee Dixon in 2002. He flourished in the position and spent five years as Arsenal's first choice right back.
He was also an astute penalty taker, scoring nine goals for the Gunners in 241 appearances as well as nonchalantly slotting home in the Fa Cup final shootout against Manchester United in 2005.
While Arsenal fans will remember Lauren fondly, many fans in the Premier League will remember his for his incredible own goal against Manchester City. In a moment of madness, Lauren tried to clear the ball away for a corner but inadvertently buried it past Jens Lehmann into the bottom corner.
Any striker would have been proud of the finish, but Arsenal fans certainly did not appreciate.
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