Stephan Lichtsteiner is set to become the first signing of Unai Emery’s tenure as Arsenal manager, joining the club on a one-year deal, after his contract at Juventus reached its completion at the end of the season just gone.

The 34-Year-Old Swiss full-back comes with a host of experience playing at the very highest level after spending the past 7 years with Juventus.

This Wednesday morning, his signing was all but confirmed through Italian publication Di Marzio after speculation had begun to build over recent days.

It is believed that the player is in the advanced stages of contract negotiations, and will be confirmed as a free transfer on a one-year contract, taking him up to June 2019.

He’s versatile – at the Old Lady, Lichtsteiner was deployed in his favoured right back position, but also as a right wing-back and a right midfielder.

Prior to signing for Juventus in 2011, he made his name in Serie A in Rome with Lazio. He made his move to Italy in 2008 after beginning his career with Swiss side Grasshopper at only 17-years-old. He then moved to Lille in France, with whom he spent he spent 3 years.

With Juventus, Lichtsteiner had been a regular starter with one of the most successful clubs in domestic Italian history. Amassing 201 appearances (and 12 goals) in every single season he played with the side, he won a league title – seven consecutive Serie A trophies – an incredible haul.

It’s not just League titles that Lichtsteiner has got his hands on in Italy – he’s also been part of a team that secured their fourth consecutive Coppa Italia this season gone, so he is leaving on a very high note.
He also came very close to tasting the ultimate European glory on 2 occasions, losing at the final hurdle to Barcelona in 2015 and Real Madrid in 2017.

He has been a longstanding fixture of the Switzerland international team, for whom he will be playing with in Russia 2018 this Summer. Flanked on the other side of the field by AC Milan’s Ricardo Rodriguez, the Swiss have long been lauded as having some of the best full-backs in world football, offering both defensive solidity and the ability to spur on an attack.

As a Switzerland player since 2006, Lichtsteiner has amassed 98 appearances, and will break into 3-digit figures if he features in at least two of their world cup matches this Summer.

He becomes Arsenal’s second Swiss international in the team in addition to midfielder Granit Xhaka, making the Swiss side one-to-watch in Russia for supporters. They will be up against it as they find themselves in one of the most competitive groups in the tournament – Group E, along with Brazil, Serbia and Costa Rica.

With Hector Bellerin being a near ever-present last season at right back, it is unexpected that Lichsteiner will be playing every week, but he will relieve some of the pressure on the Spaniards shoulders and make for a very capable replacement.

Up the right side of the field, either Bellerin or Lichtsteiner will likely have Henrikh Mkhitaryan in front of them (with Mesut Ozil also playing in that position at times last season after Theo Walcott departed the club). This being the case, it is one of the sides best outlets due to the quality of the players on the flank.
Expected to be announced soon also is fellow defender Sokratis Papastathopoulos, who will be joining the club from Borussia Dortmund to offer further solidity to what was an, at-times, brittle defense last season.

With both players being reported to be very close to being confirmed, there is potential that they will be unveiled together.

Both Sokratis and Lichtsteiner were identified as potential signings by while Wenger was still in charge, with the intention of rebuilding the squad by adding experience, and then subsequently integrating youth into the team.

The likes of Konstantinos Mavropanos will be given their chance to stake a claim to be included on a regular basis as the season progresses, with the addition of experience being hoped to help improve him and fellow younger players.

In Lichtsteiner and Sokratis, as well as the likes of Monreal and Koscielny (when he returns from injury), there isn’t much youth – the youngest is Sokratis at 29 – but what they lack in youth, they more than make up for with experience.

Emery has gotten off to a busy start as Arsenal manager, and may very well complete more business before the World Cup begins. It would appear to be necessary, as the Spanish manager tries to put his own stamp on the team.

Defensive refreshment is where the changes have begun, but there will be changes needed all over the team, so it will be interesting to see what other names emerge