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Wednesday 20 June 2018

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Switzerland skipper Stephan Lichtsteiner joins Arsenal

The former Juventus man becomes the first Gunners signing of Unai Emery’s reign.

Stephan Lichtsteiner has joined Arsenal from Juventus (Nigel French/EMPICS)
Stephan Lichtsteiner has joined Arsenal from Juventus (Nigel French/EMPICS)

By Mark Mann-Bryans, Press Association Sport

Arsenal head coach Unai Emery believes new signing Stephan Lichtsteiner will improve the club both on and off the pitch.

The Switzerland captain became the first new recruit since Emery took charge following the departure of Arsene Wenger last month as it was announced on Tuesday he was joining on a free transfer from Juventus.

Lichtsteiner, 34, won the Serie A title in each of his seven years with the Italian giants and signs for the Gunners ahead of leading his country into the World Cup in Russia later this month.

While the signing may not raise the excitement levels among the Arsenal fan-base, Emery feels Lichtsteiner could offer something invaluable to the club moving forwards.

“Stephan brings huge experience and leadership to our squad,” he told Arsenal’s official website.

“He’s a player with great quality with a very positive and determined attitude. Stephan will improve us on and off the pitch.”

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Unai Emery (right) was unveiled as Arsene Wenger’s replacement last month. (PA)

Lichtsteiner, who will wear the number 12 shirt and compete with the likes of Hector Bellerin for a place in Emery’s side, is targeting a return to the Champions League with Arsenal – who have failed to qualify for the competition in the last two years.

“It is a great moment for me, after Juventus, to come to Arsenal,” he said.

“It is a project to come back into the Champions League, it is hard not to see a club like Arsenal that is not playing in the Champions League if you see the players, the club, the stadium. The big objective is to come back on the highest level.

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Lichtsteiner has 99 caps for Switzerland and will captain his country at the World Cup. (Niall Carson/PA)

“It was a big era under Wenger, he won a lot of titles with Arsenal and did big things, now it is a new moment.

“Wenger went and everything is a bit new so it is a big challenge. He (Emery) is a very good coach and won a lot of titles.

“He is a coach who knows what he wants and who also progresses the players, also the old players like me. I’m really positive we will do great things.”

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Sokratis Papastathopoulos of Borussia Dortmund has been heavily linked with Arsenal. (Nick Potts/PA)

Borussia Dortmund defender Sokratis Papastathopoulos is also reportedly close to agreeing a move to the Emirates Stadium, with Marouane Fellaini also linked with the club.

The Manchester United midfielder is out of contract at Old Trafford at the end of the month and Press Association Sport understands his representatives have held talks with one of United’s Premier League rivals.

It is believed the Belgium international is currently favouring an exit from United having started just two league games in 2018.

Press Association

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