According to Gianluca di Marzio, Arsenal are in contact with Juventus fullback Stephan Lichtsteiner over a possible move to London in January or summer. The Swiss right back is out of contract at the end of the season, and while Juventus are hoping to retain his services, Arsenal and Inter Milan are evidently also interested in taking him on (like espresso, not espressino).
di Marzio typically has reasonably decent sources when it comes to Italian news, but I have a very hard time believing this is the case. Here are my reasons:
1. Lichtsteiner is 30 years old
This in and of itself is not a problem. We bought a 30-ish defender in summer (that would be fellow right back Mathieu Debuchy), and until his leg exploded he did pretty well. But again, we have a comparable player at that position already, so getting another one wouldn't really make a ton of sense. Were Lichtsteiner five years younger, it'd be another story. He could grow into the role. But having two guys whose freshness date will come due at around the same time doesn't make sense unless you have infinite money.
2. We have more pressing needs
Yeah, we all know we're short at the back. But the problem isn't at fullback. Even with Debuchy out long-term, Arsenal still have two capable right backs in Hector Bellerin and Calum Chambers. The problem is that Chambers is also the third choice centerback, meaning that when there's an injury there like there is currently with Laurent Koscielny missing, Chambers gets caught in the middle. In theory another fullback would help there, but really the better option is to add a centerback and allow Bellerin to remain as the deputy on the right, with Chambers available as an option first in the middle and second on the right.
In other words: I think we have enough right backs. We're more short on centerbacks. That's where our money should go first.
3. January is a long way away
Debuchy should be back in full training by the end of December -- or at least that's his hope, based on reports the other day. If all goes well -- a big "if," I know -- he should be back by the time we could bring in Lichtsteiner, which would mean we'd be four deep at the position for no good reason. If we could have done this a month ago it would have been a fairly astute move, but we couldn't. By January it won't make a lot of sense, and in summer it'll be even less useful, assuming Bellerin continues to develop and grow into the position.
4. He's not an improvement
Lichtsteiner isn't a bad player, but he's not really a massive upgrade on Debuchy either. If you're buying an older player at a position where you already have a legitimate first-team option, he really should be clearly better than that option, and this move doesn't fit that bill.
There's a lot of reasons this move doesn't make sense, and really no selling points for it. I don't really think di Marzio is full of it, but whatever contact Arsenal has had with the player is probably pretty surface-level stuff, and I'd bet we're "in contact" with loads of players we won't actually buy. It could happen, I guess, but I seriously doubt it.