Lauren warns Mikel Arteta against selling two Arsenal flops in January

Portrait of former Arsenal player Laureano Bisan Etame-Mayer 'Lauren' on January 27, 2017 in Madrid, Spain.
Lauren has sent advice to Arteta over Pepe and Runarssson (Picture: Getty)

Lauren believes Mikel Arteta should resist the temptation to cash in on Arsenal flops Nicolas Pepe and Alex Runarsson and insists his former club could need the pair before the end of the season.

Pepe, the club’s most expensive signing, has only started four of Arsenal’s 19 Premier League matches so far this season – featuring in a further eight off the bench.

He’s struggled to make a positive impact since arriving for a club-record £72million from Lille but Lauren, the ex-Arsenal full-back, thinks he deserves more time to make his mark.

Arsenal need a full squad and with Pepe, I believe that there are some games where he will be better suited to implement his style of play,’ Lauren told Genting Bet.

‘When you need quick transitions, you will need a player like Pepe. His style of play is quicker, more attacking and taking on players so when Arsenal need to transition, Pepe is an option.

‘When you play in that kind of way, you need quick players and I believe that from now on to the end of the season, there will be some games that they cannot implement the same game plan by suffocating the opponent in their half, they will need to adapt to transition from the back and for that, they will need Pepe.

Nicolas Pepe of Arsenal looks on during the FA Cup Third Round match between Arsenal and Newcastle United at Emirates Stadium on January 09, 2021 in London, England. The match will be played without fans, behind closed doors as a Covid-19 precaution.
Pepe has struggled at Arsenal (Picture: Getty Images)

‘There is still a reason to keep Pepe at the club. The stronger squad Arsenal have the less problems you get until the end of the season because they need to balance the team and prepare for injuries.’

Pepe’s team-mate Runarsson has been heavily linked with a January exit, despite only joining Arsenal in the summer.

He dropped high-profile clangers in the Carabao Cup exit at the hands of Manchester City but Lauren still thinks he can play a role before the end of the season.

‘Runarsson was very unlucky in the games he has played but it’s very important to have a first choice to remain fit, and [Bernd] Leno is very important,’ he added.

‘This is why you can’t let someone like Pepe go, because you never know from now until the end of the season who you might need – you need a full squad to compete.’

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