Lauren: Arsenal must choose Denis Suarez over James Rodriguez

LEON, SPAIN - OCTOBER 31: Zelu of Cultural Leonesa competes for the ball with Denis Suarez of FC Barcelona during the Spanish Copa del Rey match between Cultural Leonesa and FC Barcelona at Estadio Reino de Leon on October 31, 2018 in Leon, Spain. (Photo by Octavio Passos/Getty Images)

Former Arsenal defender Lauren has advised the club to focus their efforts on signing Denis Suarez over James Rodriguez.

Despite enjoying an impressive debut campaign on loan at Bayern Munich last season, James’ future remains in doubt after starting just five of his nine Bundesliga appearances this term.

The Colombia international’s loan deal will expire at the end of the season with Bayern having the option to sign James permanently for €42m or allow him to return to parent club Real Madrid.

But it appears that Los Blancos don’t have much interest in retaining James with reports in Spain suggesting that they will use him as part of an exchange deal for Tottenham star Christian Eriksen.

Arsenal have also been strongly linked with a move for the 27-year-old over the past few weeks, but any move for him this month is very unlikely after manager Unai Emery admitted they can only make loan signings this month.

“I’m not sure that Arsenal should be seriously considering James Rodriguez, even on loan,” Lauren told Bwin.

“Rodriguez has got a lot of talent, but the warning signs are there that he hasn’t been able to settle at either Real Madrid or Bayern Munich.

Liverpool FC v Watford FC - Premier League

Quiz: How much do you know about Virgil van Dijk?

Let's see how much you know about Premier League's best defender - Virgil van Dijk. Good luck and have fun!

“He comes with a massive wage bill so Arsenal would have to make sure he was fully on board with the philosophy of the club.

“Rodriguez has played in the big games for the big clubs so there’s no doubting his talent. If Emery can get the best out of him then he could make a real impact on whether Arsenal qualify for next season’s Champions League. It’s a roll of the dice.”

Instead, Lauren believes Arsenal would be better off pursuing a move for Barcelona midfielder Suarez, who is unhappy due his lack of game time at Camp Nou.

“Suarez should be Arsenal’s number one target this transfer window,” he added.

“He’s an excellent player and he’s having to fight with so many top players to get first-team football at Barcelona. Arsenal should look to sign him above the likes of Rodriguez, no doubt about it.”

Lauren played for Arsenal as a right-back for seven years and was a member of the “invincibles” squad that went the entire 2003/04 Premier League campaign unbeaten.

The former Cameroon international scored 11 times in 242 appearances for the Gunners and went on to play for Portsmouth and Cordoba before retiring in 2010.