Arsenal need to focus on strengthening other areas of their team rather than sign Riyad Mahrez, according to former favourite Lauren.
Reports on Wednesday suggested Leicester winger Mahrez had agreed to move to the Gunners after meeting with Arsene Wenger, despite Claudio Ranieri insisting the reigning PFA Player of the Year will remain with the Premier League champions.
But former right-back Lauren, who was part of Arsenal’s Invincibles which won the 2003/04 title, has questioned whether Arsenal actually need the Algeria international.
“Mahrez is not needed at Arsenal,” Lauren told the London Evening Standard.
“He is a very good player, 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.
“Arsenal have always had dynamic players – but they need to change that style a little bit, maybe be a little more direct, with more aggressiveness, and determination – which means players with a different style than Mahrez can offer.”
The North Londoners continue to be linked with a move for a new striker and a new centre-back, with Lyon’s Alexandre Lacazette and Valencia’s Shkodran Mustafi understood to be Wenger’s primary targets, although West Brom’s Jonny Evans has also been recently mooted.
“Don’t get me wrong. I respect Olivier Giroud and he has an important part to play next season through the goals he does score,” Lauren added
“But you need people with ‘charisma’. It’s more than about scoring goals, you need a striker with the X-factor, with charisma. And despite being a fantastic player Giroud doesn’t have that.
“With or without Per Mertesacker’s injury, Arsenal need a new centre-back. 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.”