Arsenal will sign 34-year-old Swiss defender Stephan Lichtsteiner on July 1 when his current contract with Italian champions Juventus expires.
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And the experienced defender, who joins on a one-year deal, will be Unai Emery’s first signing as Gunners boss.
The right back has been at Juve since 2011 and has reached two UEFA Champions League finals with the Turin giants, as well as winning seven-straight Serie A titles and four consecutive Italian cups. He will also captain Switzerland at the World Cup this summer.
Speaking about his move to Arsenal, Lichtsteiner is looking forward to the challenge ahead as they aim to break back into the top four of the Premier League.
“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,” Lichtsteiner said. “I’ve never played against Arsenal, but of course there was the big era of Wenger. He won a lot of titles with Arsenal and [made them] a big team. Now it’s a new moment. Wenger went and now everything is a bit new, so it’s a big challenge.”
His new manager at Arsenal believes the Swiss national team captain can help the Gunners in other ways than just on the pitch.
“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,” Emery said.
Lichtsteiner will add competition for Hector Bellerin at right back and the veteran defender is also able to play elsewhere in defense and midfield to add extra cover to the backline.
With another UEFA Europa League campaign coming up for Arsenal, Emery will certainly need a large squad to rotate between domestic and European action in 2018/19.
It was a busy day for right backs coming to the Premier League on a free transfer as Ryan Fredericks arrived at West Ham United.
Fredericks, 25, was a regular for Fulham as they were promoted to the PL via the Championship playoffs (he was named in the 2017/18 PFA Championship Team of the Year) but his deal with the Cottagers expires on July 1 and he was locked into contract talks but couldn’t agree on a new deal at Craven Cottage.
The Hammers and their new boss Manuel Pellegrini are delighted to have snapped up the attacking full back on a four-year deal.
“It’s amazing for this deal to finally happen,” Fredericks said. “I know we’ve been speaking about it for a while and trying to get things in place and finally, we’ve got it over the line. I’m just buzzing to be here. West Ham United is one of the biggest clubs in the Premier League. Everyone knows the history of West Ham and there’s a lot of factors that brought me to the club.
“Obviously, it’s an exciting time for West Ham. The club have just brought in a new manager in Manuel Pellegrini and everyone knows his CV and what he has done in England before and in other leagues as well. I’m sure I can learn a lot from him.”
Fredericks, who began his career at Tottenham’s youth setup before moving on to Bristol City and then Fulham, will fight with the likes of Pablo Zabaleta and Sam Byram for playing time at right back at the London Stadium.