'I turned down Real Madrid to join Arsenal'

Lauren, who was part of the 2003-04 'Invincibles', claims he had the chance to join the Spanish club ahead of the Gunners in 2000
Former Arsenal star Lauren admits he turned down an offer from Real Madrid in order to move to the Gunners.

The retired right-back won two Premier League titles and three FA Cup trophies during his his seasons with the Gunners and was one of the stars in Arsenal’s ‘Invincibles’ for the 2003-04 campaign.

Speaking about his transfer to Arsenal, Lauren 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] Onieva made 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.”