Stephan Lichtsteiner has confirmed his departure from Arsenal after a single season after posting a heartfelt message on Instagram.
Arsenal are expected to experience a busy transfer window as the club look to dip into the market to cover multiple positions. There are also many anticipated departures, and the first one to go through the exit door is a defender. The Mirror are reporting of Stephan Lichtsteiner’s departure from the club after a single season. The defender confirmed the status through an emotional post on Instagram.
Lichtsteiner joined Arsenal on a free transfer last summer from Juventus. The Swiss defender made a promising start to life early on, showing his experience, but was never a regular starter under Unai Emery. His performances dipped as the season went on and by the end of it, he was behind Ainsley Maitland-Niles and Shkodran Mustafi in the pecking order.
View this post on Instagram
Dear Gunners We were close to add an important chapter to this amazing club's history. But to be close … is unfortunately not good enough. This is hard to accept. I'm very disappointed. It was our objective to bring Arsenal back on the highest international level and to win trophies. Both belong to this great club. I wish my teammates, my coach and his staff, all hard-working employees and all Gunner fans simply the best! I'm confident our team can complete our mission next season! I loved to be a part of this club. It was a great challenge and experience without a happy end, unfortunately. Thank you very much for your overwhelming support! It was much appreciated! See you Stephan #COYG #WeAreTheArsenal #YaGunnersYa #ThankYou
Arsenal had no plans to renew his one year deal. The club are in the market to replace him with a viable, younger option. PSG and Belgium right-back Thomas Meunier is being linked with a transfer, but the defender seemingly prefers Manchester United over Arsenal with the Red Devils also interested in him.
Arsenal do have Maitland-Niles who has been impressive at the right-back/wing-back position in Hector Bellerin’s absence due to a severe injury in January. In case Arsenal fail to sign a replacement for Lichtsteiner, they should be alright with Bellerin and Maitland-Niles, although Emery would want the versatile Englishman to play in his preferred midfield position.
The Gunners recently lost out to Chelsea in the Europa League Final, which cost them a place in next season’s Champions League as well as additional transfer budget. Arsenal now have to make do with a reported £40 million transfer kitty, as they search the market mainly in need of a defender and midfielder.
As for Lichtsteiner, he might get some offers from European clubs as well as English clubs. Many clubs across both fronts are always looking for someone with Lichtsteiner’s experience who could easily take up a back-up position in the squad. Lichtsteiner, with 23 appearances in all competitions including 14 in the league, proved he still has the physicality to play in the best leagues.
The full-back can now negotiate with any side he wants after entering the free-agent pool. For now, no club have come forth with their interest in the veteran defender, but the transfer window is a long one, and there is every chance for Lichtsteiner to find a new club. As for Arsenal, they did not get what they expected out of Lichtsteiner and might be well off with finding a replacement player for the Swiss.