By Will Butcher
Arsenal Invincible Lauren has called on the club to forget about signing Premier League champion Riyad Mahrez and instead focus on replacing Per Mertesacker.
Manager Arsene Wenger admitted last week that Mertesacker is out for “months” and that he is in the market for a new centre-back.
Arsenal have been strongly linked with a move for Mahrez following his Player of the Year winning campaign that spearheaded Leicester to last season’s title.
Lauren told the London Evening Standard that signing Mahrez is a waste of time when the Gunners already have five similar technically excellent attacking midfielders in their squad..
“He is a very good player,” Lauren said about Mahrez. “But how many similar players in terms of technically proficient, creative midfielders and widemen do Arsenal have already?
“They have Mesut Ozil, they have Jack Wilshere, they have Aaron Ramsey, they have Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, they have Theo Walcott – Arsenal don’t need Mahrez.”
The Cameroon international was an integral member of the Arsenal Invincibles team that won the 2003-04 title without being beaten.
The former Portsmouth spent six years at North London, and also had spells in Spain with Mallorca and Levante.
The 39-year-old called on former boss Wenger to bring a in defensive reinforcements, after reports sounded out Jonny Evans and Shkodran Mustafi as possible targets.
“With or without Per Mertesacker’s injury, Arsenal need a new centre-back,” Lauren said. “But a different type of centre-back. One with more physical presence.
“We need someone with determination and someone who is commanding and someone like Evans could fit the bill.”
In other Arsenal transfer news, Wenger is looking at another centre-back who has a wealth of Premier League experience.