Arsenal have reportedly initiated contacts with Juventus full-back Stephan Lichtsteiner as his contract negotiations with the Italian champions progress slowly.
The Swiss international, 30, has been a major protagonist in Juventus’ return to the top of the Italian football after his move from rivals Lazio in 2011. But his contract expires in June and according to reports in Italy, he has been contacted by Arsenal while Inter Milan, PSG and Real Madrid also remain interested.
Lichtsteiner has always outlined his priority to extend with the Turin giants and in an interview with Tuttosport few months ago he expressed his desire to continue with Juventus.
“It will probably be my last big contract,” Lichtsteiner reflected.
“And my priority is Juventus. What counts is trophies, winning is the most important thing. I still see myself at a good level for three or four more years, then I can close [my career] in Switzerland and then become a Coach.”
“I confirm that Paris Saint-Germain have been pursuing me,” said the Swiss international. But to remain here is a choice that I’ve made based on my love for this club.”
“If I didn’t like playing at Juventus, I would not be talking about signing a renewal. Then I enter the field only to win and this is what every fan wants to see, that you sacrifice yourself for the colors of your team.”
But the slowdown in contract negotiations has prompted speculations that Lichtsteiner could leave Italy. According to La Gazzetta dello Sport, Lichtsteiner has been offered €2.3 million a season but he prefers to receive €3 million and Juventus are not willing to offer him that amount of money.
The captain of the Swiss national team is widely regarded as one of the best full-backs in Europe with his ability to attack and defend in equal measure making him an attractive proposition. He has scored 9 times in 97 appearances for Juventus while at international level he has five goals in 69 games.
Lichtsteiner is worshipped by the Juventus fans for his ‘grinta’ and passion plus also his relentless pressing down the flanks. He is also a very capable leader on the pitch and Juventus CEO Giuseppe Marotta understands the value of the Swiss international claiming that he is very keen to secure his contract extension.
“Contractual situations vary in age, and personal and technical values,” Marotta said.
“[Stephan] Lichtsteiner has great human values, but main factor is a sporting one. We have started negotiations with him.”
Arsenal’s defence is in desperate need of strengthening due to poor form and injuries to Mathieu Debuchy and Laurent Koscielny. Lichtsteiner could be the ideal man in this situation but it seems that the Swiss international is inclined to extend his stay in Italy with the Bianconeri.