Ex-Arsenal defender Lauren makes blunt claim about club's motives

The former Gunners' 'Invincibles' regular has claimed that the club are more interested in making money than building a team.

Former Arsenal defender Lauren has told Spanish outlet AS that the club is no longer the close family that it was a decade ago, claiming that is has become simply a "money-making machine".

The club have been on stable financial ground for years and have sometimes attracted criticism for refusing to sanction heavy spending on new players despite boasting considerable monetary reserves.

Lauren, who played nearly 250 times for the North London side between 2000 and the start of 2007 and won five major trophies including two Premier League titles, was an integral part of the club's 2003-04 'Invincibles' unbeaten league season.

The former Cameroon international was one of a host of players from Arsene Wenger's greatest side to leave the club before or during the season following the 2006 Champions League final defeat to Barcelona, along with stars such as Robert Pires, Dennis Bergkamp, Sol Campbell, and Ashley Cole.

He believes that since that greatest of modern Gunners sides was dismantled, the club has lost some of the soul which made it so successful during his time in London.

The 39-year-old told AS, as quoted by the London Evening Standard: "Pat Boyle [a late former Gunners employee] used to come to collect me and he was one of us.

"Nowadays there are so many departments that it's difficult to know everyone personally. Now Arsenal is a money-making machine and that closeness has been lost. It's understandable."

Since Lauren left the club in January 2007, Arsenal have won just two major honours, the back-to-back FA Cup triumphs in the last two seasons.

Wenger's side look doomed to return to a barren year this campaign after being knocked out of the FA Cup at the quarter-final stage by Watford and the Champions League last-16 defeat to Barcelona.

The Gunners are 11 points off the pace in the Premier League, albeit with a game in hand, ahead of their trip to Everton this weekend.

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