Little over a year ago, no-one could have foreseen Lauren leaving Arsenal. According to Arsène Wenger he was one of the first names down on the team-sheet.
But times change and, at Friday afternoon's press conference ahead of the clash with Manchester United, the Arsenal manager outlined why he let the 30-year-old right back sign for Portsmouth. It transpires that it was a terribly tough call.
"Lauren he was out for nine months and so Emmanuel Eboue and Justin Hoyte played," said Wenger. "Do I stop their development and play Lauren or do I let him go somewhere else? I had to make that kind of decision.
"If I played him then I knew I'd have to lose either Hoyte or Eboue which I didn't want to do.
"I know I have lost a fantastic player and I'd like to pay tribute to him because he was amazing for the Club. He was not only a player with quality and experience but also a fantastic guy who was mentally very strong."
Copyright 2013 The Arsenal Football Club plc. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit being given to www.arsenal.com as the source 19 Jan 2007