Stephan Lichtsteiner: Experience, Leadership, Reliable Alternative
The first signing under the Unai Emery era has arrived at the club and it comes with some mixed feelings. However, I think it’s a very astute signing in a position that has been in dire need of quantity, as well as quality. Let’s go back to the Bacary Sagna days when the Frenchman was so consistent, dependable and most importantly, extremely fit to the point we didn’t even think he needed a replacement. Well, Emmanuel Eboue was available for selection but Sagna’s form ensured that he played week in, week out.
Then Sagna and his beautiful Ludivine moved the petro-greens of Manchester City and a void was created on the right back position but Arsene Wenger replaced Sagna with his compatriot, Mathieu Debuchy, who put up consistent performances then suffered a dislocated shoulder following a rash challenge from the Poor Man’s Zlatan, Marko Arnautovic. Debuchy’s despair unlocked the door for Hector Bellerin and he made his breakthrough, making things difficult for the elder Frenchman on his return from injury. Debuchy played second fiddle for so long till the point he couldn’t take it anymore, and he moved out of the club on loan twice, before sealing a permanent move to St. Etienne.
Meanwhile, Bellerin has failed to find some consistency in his game and with Carl Jenkinson out at Birmingham and probably without an Arsenal future, the club needed to invest in a new right back, and in Stephan Lichtsteiner we have signed a very capable alternative to Bellerin – a player with so much bags of experience, winning seven Serie A titles on the trot with Juventus. I’m pretty sure there would be great odds at Novibet for the forthcoming season.
In Lichtsteiner, we have a leader that can make himself heard on and off the pitch, as Arsenal is one of those teams that require leadership on several fronts. He can also provide some tutelage to Bellerin, a youngster with so much potential, and the competition they would have would be vital to the team. Lichtsteiner will also take some workload off Bellerin as I’d expect him to play the Europa League and Carabao Cup games while Bellerin focuses on the Premier League. He wasted no time in stating his ambitions for the club this season,
“There is a project to come back into the Champions League. I think it’s hard to see a club like Arsenal not playing in the Champions League. If you see the players, if you see the club, the stadium – it’s the project, the big opportunity to get back to the highest level.
I hope I can bring a lot of that mentality. I hope I can bring a lot of experience, a lot of mentality and together, with my team, come back to the highest level of the Champions League.
The important thing is what you do on the pitch, that you are an example for the young players, for the old players, that everybody knows that this guy will help us. Like me also, I need to know that everybody helps me. This is the team spirit that we need to have, to have the confidence to give each other to help us.”
You can see that he already knows what’s expected of him and he’s ready to give himself a fresh challenge after so many years at Italy. At 34, he comes on a free transfer and a one year deal, which means the club reserves the right to pull the plug on him if it doesn’t work out, but there are no substitutes for experience and I’m really looking forward to seeing what the new Swiss right back has to offer.
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