Stephan Lichtsteiner would have liked to bring his experience to the pitch in Baku to help Arsenal but the Swiss midfielder understands why he’ll be left on the bench as he eyes up a move within England.
Stephan Lichtsteiner is out of contract with Arsenal this summer and while the club had an option to extend his deal for another year, they have opted against taking it. As such, he will be free to leave next month.
The 35-year-old was included in Arsenal’s 24-man squad for the Europa League final but, barring catastrophe, will not play any minutes.
“In the final phase, I would like to have brought in my experience,” Lichtsteiner told Blick. “The coach has decided otherwise. With this, you have to live as a professional.
“My challenge and goal here from the start was: qualify for the Champions League and win a title.
“The only important thing is that we win on Wednesday.”
So where will he go when he leaves Arsenal?
That’s hard to say. There haven’t been many stories linking him with a move to anywhere specific, but that’s probably more to do with the fact nobody really cares than a lack of interest from other clubs. The player quite likes the idea of staying in England but hasn’t ruled out retiring either.
“I enjoy football here. It was not easy to adapt. I needed time,” he said. “[It’s] wilder, less tactical, played with an extremely high rhythm.
“I’m actually open to everything. I would like to add at least one more year [in England] but have very clear ideas and objectives.
“My family plays a key role in decision-making.”
Blick are quite clear that the extra year will not happen at Arsenal, describing it as ‘out of the question’, something most fans will be relieved to hear.
It has been evident all season that Lichtsteiner no longer has the legs for the game at this level but he believes he can play on.
“My values are first-class. I’m fit,” he said and with a summer free from football (he won’t play for Switzerland in the Nations Cup) he will have plenty of time to rest and find a new home.