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Barca attack picking up steam

Barcelona 3 hours ago
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By ESPN Staff
Jan 18, 2007

Portsmouth beat West Ham to Lauren signing

Portsmouth have completed the signing of Arsenal full-back Lauren on a two-and-a-half year deal.

The Cameroon international, who turns 30 on Friday, has joined for an undisclosed fee, ending his six-and-a-half-year stay with the Gunners.

Manager Harry Redknapp said: 'Lauren is an outstanding player. He is a great athlete and professional, very strong and quick, too.'

'He will be a tremendous asset to us, is extremely versatile and can play in a number of different positions at the back and in midfield.'

Redknapp revealed he was not the only manager interested in a player who won two Premiership titles and three FA Cups at Arsenal.

'I'm delighted he's decided to join Portsmouth above a whole host of clubs that were after him. It shows how far we have come in a short space of time.'

Lauren, who will go straight into the squad for Saturday's home game with Charlton, added: 'This is a great move for me.

'Portsmouth are having a great season and are pushing for a place in Europe and I aim to be playing my part in that challenge.

'I have been very impressed with the club's plans for the future, both on and off the pitch, and this was why I chose to come to Fratton Park.

'It will also be good to once again team up with [former Arsenal team-mates] Sol Campbell and Kanu.'

Lauren also spoke of his sadness to leave the Gunners.

'I have made many great friends and have many wonderful memories from the years I have spent at Arsenal. I have enjoyed great success with the club and I am very grateful to Arsene Wenger, my team-mates and all the fantastic Arsenal fans for their support. The fans have been brilliant.

'Of course I am sad to be leaving Arsenal, but I am very much looking forward to a new challenge at Portsmouth.'

Wenger paid tribute to the full-back.

He said: 'Lauren's contribution to Arsenal since he joined the club in 2000 has been absolutely outstanding.

'He has been a central figure in the club winning the Premiership twice and the FA Cup three times and his high level of performances have made sure that he will always have a place in Arsenal history.

'On behalf of the players and staff we wish Lauren the best of luck at Portsmouth.'