Arsenal defender Stephan Lichtsteiner has acknowledged that he may consider a fresh challenge away from the north London club, should manager Unai Emery restrain against offering him with gametime on the field.
The Switzerland international was the Gunners’ first signing of the Unai Emery era after he made the switch on a free transfer following the expiry of his career at Juventus.
Since then, he has been used as a squad player in the Gunners ranks but he has still managed 20 starts in the Premier League and Europe where he has featured in both the right and left-back positions.
Speaking exclusively to Swiss outlet Neue Zurcher Zeitung, Lichtsteiner has indicated that he is not overly worried by his reduced gametime in the past month, given he is plying his trade at a big club.
However, the 35-year-old acknowledged that he must keep on playing regularly to concentrate on Switzerland’s Euro 2020 qualification campaign and that could tempt him to consider a fresh challenge elsewhere.
At the moment, Lichtsteiner has three months remaining on his existing deal with the club and he has yet to commit himself to the north London giants for the 2019/2020 campaign.
Should he maintain the stance, the Gunners could find themselves with the need to spend on another right-sided defender in the summer, given Hector Bellerin could miss the start of next season after his serious knee injury.
Ainsley Maitland-Niles has done wonderfully well to cement the right wing-back position in Emery’s 3-4-1-2 formation of late but besides him, the club may find themselves without competition, should Lichtsteiner leave.
Carl Jenkinson is the only other choice to feature on the right side of the backline but his future is likewise hanging in the balance with just one league start attained in the past two-and-a-half years with the side. His contract expires in the summer.
Image – Arsenal’s official website