Arsenal have increased Unai Emery’s transfer budget from £50m to £70m and are closing in on the free transfer of Stephan Lichtsteiner from Juventus after the player reportedly visited Arsenal’s training ground.
Lichtsteiner has been a long-time target for the club but they had no hope of getting him out of Juve until now.
34 and out of contract in the summer, the Gunners are targeting him as an experienced international who can bring leadership to the squad and guidance for Hector Bellerin.
Arsenal are working on a deal to sign Switzerland right-back Stephan Lichtsteiner on a free transfer when the 34-year-old’s Juventus contract expires this summer. Lichtsteiner a long-term target who #AFC see adding experience/leadership to head coach Unai Emery’s squad #Juve #SUI
— David Ornstein (@bbcsport_david) May 25, 2018
— Francesco Porzio (@fraporzio95) May 25, 2018
Arsenal, at present, have no defined right-back back-up for Bellerin but Lichtsteiner would bring so much more than that to the squad, as well as freeing up cash for other positions that desperately need reinforced.
The story is something of a turnaround given that in December Juventus were said to be targeting Bellerin to replace the Swiss international. Bellerin has reiterated his happiness in London and his desire to stay with Arsenal.
“I’m playing in one of the biggest clubs in Europe and there’s always competition for places,” Lichtsteiner told Mediaset after making his 300th appearance against Bologna earlier this month. “But my future is going to be away from Turin. At the end of the season I’m leaving. I’ll play abroad next year but I’ve not signed anything yet.”
Lichtsteiner is expected to captain his country in Russia this summer.