Chelsea, Inter Milan, PSG and a host of other top European clubs have been relegated to the chasing pack in the pursuit for veteran Swiss defender, Stephan Lichsteiner, as Arsenal have had more direct contact with the player and his club’s representatives over a potential deal according to reports.
Reliable sources are stating that while the Blues have long courted Lichsteiner for a while, the Gunners have moved beyond mere flirtation to register a genuine interest with the Bianconeri for the 30 year old right wing back who enters the final months of his contract in January. Wenger’s need of a defender is no secret and his eagerness to fix the gaps at the back may have been the drive towards establishing early links for the player’s services.
Lichsteiner has been with the three-time Scudetto Champions since 2011, and is only 4 games short of making a century of Serie A appearances for Juventus. This will be matching his achievement with Lazio three years before he moved to Turin, where he made exactly 100 turnouts for the capital club in the Championship. This goes to show the immense experience he has had over the past years of his career, and it must surely appeal to Wenger that the pacy, 6ft defender had spent some time in the French Ligue with Lille. Having been part of Antonio Conte’s dominant reign over the past three seasons, it must be surprising that Juve are not willing to see reasons to improve on his current deal, giving opportunity for other clubs to pounce.
With the reliance on youngster Calum Chambers due to Mat Debuchy’s injury absence, Wenger must be looking to add more bite and experience to our defence by bringing an old head, though it must be questioned if the manager plans to tweak the tactics at the back as Lichsteiner has played more as an attacking full back, utilizing his pace in pushing the attack forward.
For all his experience, Lichsteiner is not exactly one of the elite defenders in the world. He is renowned for his attacking abilities on the right flank, being at his best when playing as a wing back for a 3 man defence. It tells of his proclivity to being more of an attacker than a defender. That, in itself, is quite un-Wenger and doesn’t present him as the player we need. We have Debuchy, Chambers and Hector Bellerin at right-back, coupled with Carl ‘banter’ Jenkinson who is causing havoc with his scintillating performance on loan at West Ham.
Wenger should be looking to real, top class center defenders in January to give us more solidity at the back, and there has not been a shortage of suggestions. Winston Reid, Virgil van Dijk, Aymeric Laporte and Antonio Rudiger are all younger defenders, with great potential. The first two are especially available in the summer, and can feature for us in the Champions League.
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