Arsene Wenger has confirmed that experienced right-back Lauren will be allowed to leave Arsenal in January.
The former Cameroon international has not played for The Gunners since suffering a serious knee injury in a Carling Cup tie against Wigan in January 2006, and after taking a year to recuperate has now been told that he does not have a future at Emirates Stadium.
Skysports.com revealed earlier in the week that West Ham are in talks to bring the versatile performer to Upton Park and Wenger's admission has seemingly paved the way for a move across London.
Whilst the French boss professes to be in the dark over whether Lauren has spoken with Alan Curbishley, Wenger did concede that - after playing a starring role in two Premiership titles and three FA Cup wins - Lauren has been edged out by the emergence of Justin Hoyte and Emmanuel Eboue.
"The problem is that since Lauren got injured I have Justin Hoyte who got promoted, I have Emmanuel Eboue who got promoted and I have Johan Djourou who can play in there too," Wenger told the club's official website.
"It's always the same. You make room for young players and then it is difficult to leave them out again. I feel we have too many players in that position now.
"Lauren is free to talk to anyone because it is the end of his contract but frankly I don't know if he has spoken to West Ham.
"He doesn't have to inform me if he wants to speak to anyone."
Wenger has also stated that whilst Sebastian Larsson is likely to be sold to Birmingham, both Fabrice Muamba and Nicklas Bendtner will be returning to Arsenal at the end of their loan deals.