No protracted signing saga, this.
Arsenal announced today their first signing of the Summer window and it is been the much reported addition of Stephan Lichtsteiner on a free transfer. The Swiss right back had spent the last seven seasons playing for Juventus, making 250 appearances and winning bags full of trophies and what not. He’s also one of the most experienced Swiss international players, all set to participate in the World Cup this summer as their captain.
The new coach is certainly saying all the checkbox things:
“Stephan brings huge experience and leadership to our squad. He’s a player with great quality with a very positive and determined attitude. Stephan will improve us on and off the pitch.”
None of which is wrong; there is a definite need for experience and leadership in this side. That said, Lichtsteiner likely comes in as relief and backup for Hector Bellerin, who has been asked to largely hold his own all season. With another set of grueling Thursday Europa Nights ahead for Arsenal, such relief will be important should Arsenal hope to make a strong Premier League campaign.
As well, at the age of 34, Lichtsteiner feels like another short term option as Arsenal decides who they will be under the new regime. But, on a free, it feels like a very safe gamble to make.
Welcome to the club, Stephan.