Newly-signed Arsenal defender Stephan Lichsteiner has this evening opened up on his move to the Emirates, discussing the thought process behind his decision and what he feels as though he can bring to the Gunners both on the pitch and in the dressing room.
Lichtsteiner, a 34-year-old Swiss right-back, had been on the books of Juventus since the summer of 2011, when he joined the club from fellow Serie A outfit Lazio.
And the ‘Swiss Express’ since went on to establish himself as an absolute icon in Turin, with his lung-busting, never-say-die performances up and down the right flank for the Bianconeri having proven absolutely crucial to both the domestic and European successes of the Italian outfit over the last 7 seasons.
All in all, Lichtsteiner racked up over 250 appearances over the course of his stint at the Juventus Stadium, collecting 7 Serie A titles, 4 Coppa Italias, as well as reaching a pair of Champions League finals.
On the move
Despite his hero status in Turin, though, Lichtsteiner’s powers have begun to wane over recent seasons, with the 98-time capped Swiss international having no longer been considered as first-choice in Max Allegri’s squad this past season.
As such, it had long been expected that the stopper would depart the club this summer as a free agent, with Borussia Dortmund having previously been viewed as the clear favourites to secure a deal for the veteran.
However, after the Germans seemingly cooled their interest over the last couple of weeks, a surprise suitor, in the form of Arsenal, emerged for Lichtsteiner’s signature.
And, following several weeks of negotiations, the Gunners this afternoon confirmed that a deal for the experienced full-back to join the club has officially been reached, with Lichtsteiner’s signature having been announced across Arsenal’s social media channels a short time later:
— Arsenal FC (@Arsenal) June 5, 2018
‘Make big things happen with this big club’
Speaking in an interview with Arsenal’s official website this evening, Lichtsteiner opened up on his decision to make the move to the Emirates, with the experienced Swiss citing the ‘project’ in place in North London as having played a crucial role in his eventual signing:
‘It’s a great moment.’
‘It’s great for me after Juventus to come to Arsenal and have this big challenge to make big things [happen] with this big club.’
‘What attracted me? There is a project. 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.’
Lichtsteiner also discussed how his experiences with Juventus will prove beneficial in aiding Arsenal’s bid to return to the Champions League:
‘Experience of seven straight Scudetti? I hope I can bring a lot of that mentality. It’s a little bit of the same project that I did seven years ago with Juventus.’
‘Juventus also, for two times, didn’t qualify for the Champions League. 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.’
‘At the end it’s not too important to speak too much. 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.’