‘Invincible’ reveals he rejected Real Madrid move to complete Arsenal transfer

According to reports from London24, Arsenal ‘Invincible’ Lauren has revealed he rebuffed an approach from Real Madrid to sign for the north Londoners in summer 2000.

Following his arrival from Mallorca, the right-back went on to make 242 appearances for the Gunners across all competitions, winning two Premier League titles, three FA Cups and two Community Shields under Arsene Wenger.

The former Cameroon international is perhaps best famed for being Arsenal’s resident No.2 as they lifted the Premier League title undefeated during the 2003/04 season, winning 26 and drawing twelve.

He later went on to spend three seasons at Portsmouth, claiming another FA Cup in 2008 under Harry Redknapp, before a short stint with Spanish side Cordoba and eventually retiring in 2010, aged 33.

But in a recent interview with Spanish publication AS, Lauren has revealed his career could have panned out very differently, had it not been for a good old-fashioned cup of tea with Le Professeur and Arsenal’s former vice-chairman David Dein.

As quoted by London24, he told AS; “It was fairly informal. I met up with David Dein and Arsène Wenger on the outskirts of London. They offered me a cup of tea and we talked about football. I took that as their way of trying to figure me out psychologically as they already knew what I was like on the pitch.

“[Candidate for the 2000 Real Madrid presidency, Juan] Onievamade me an offer to join Madrid but it was the encouragement I got from Wenger which convinced me that Arsenal was the place for me.

“Wenger always looked further ahead,” Lauren added. “He was very forward-thinking. When he told us that Highbury would be demolished one day, we thought he was talking another language, but he knew that was the future for the club.”