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Defender Lichtsteiner relishes ‘challenge’ at Arsenal

Unai Emery’s first signing says he aims to help Gunners return to the Champions League

08 June, 2018 — By Steve Barnett

Stephen Lichtsteiner: ‘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’. PHOTO: STEINDY

STEPHEN Lichtsteiner is arriving at Arsenal to “make big things happen” and help the club get “back into the Champions League”.

The Switzerland captain this week became head coach Unai Emery’s first signing since succeeding Arsene Wenger last month. The 34-year-old right-back brings with him a wealth of experience having made more than 250 appearances for Italian giants Juventus, where he was part of a squad that won seven Serie A titles in a row.

“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,” said Lichtsteiner after completing a free transfer to north London.

“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.”

Quizzed on whether he’s excited to be working under Emery, Lichtsteiner added: “He’s a very good coach who’s won a lot of titles, especially the Europa League that we play in this year. He’s a coach who knows what he wants and a coach who also progresses the young players, and also old players like me. You never stop learning and this is very important.”

Lichtsteiner certainly has a winning mentality, capturing seven Serie A titles, four Coppa Italias and three Italian Super Cups during his time at Juventus. It’s an attitude that Arsenal’s new number 12 will be hoping rubs off on his team-mates. “I hope that I can bring a lot of that mentality,” he said.

“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.”

Head coach Emery said: “Stephan brings huge experience and leadership to our squad. He’s a player with great quality with a very positive and determined attitude. Stephan will improve us on and off the pitch.”

Meanwhile, Arsenal have signed one of the hottest prospects in Europe, according to reports in France.

It is believed that Emery has convinced midfielder Yacine Adli to follow him from Paris Saint-Germain to north London, with the 17-year-old agreeing an initial three-year contract after rejecting the offer of a professional contract at PSG – much to the French club’s dismay.

One of Emery’s final acts in charge of PSG was to give Adli his first-team debut. Arsenal will have to pay a €255,000 (£223,000) compensation fee to PSG in order to complete the deal.

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