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Arsenal Opinion: Gunners should not offer Stephan Lichtsteiner a new deal

According to Sky Sports, Arsenal right-back Stephan Lichtsteiner has left the door open to a new move in the summer despite holding talks over a new deal at the Emirates.

The 35-year-old arrived on a free transfer from Juventus last summer and has made a total of 21 appearances for the Gunners in all competitions, majority of those coming in the Europa League group stages and domestic cup competitions.

Lichtsteiner is still unsure whether to stay at Arsenal beyond the end of the season or seek for regular first-team opportunities elsewhere to remain in contention for a spot in Switzerland’s Euro 2020 squad. (h/t Sky Sports)

Unai Emery apparently hasn’t been keen on using Lichtsteiner in the Premier League too often, with the veteran making only 8 starts in the league. However, the long-term injury to first-choice right-back Hector Bellerin has forced the manager to field the veteran at times.

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The manager has preferred youngster Ainsley Maitland-Niles to fill in at right-wing back whenever he has opted for a back-three system and the academy graduate has excelled with his pace and flair in the Premier League.

Lichtsteiner, on the other hand, has looked quite comfortable against the lesser opposition in the Europa League but has struggled to make an impact in high-octane encounters against the bigger sides.

The 35-year-old was absolutely woeful in Arsenal’s 5-1 defeat against Liverpool in December and put up another lacklustre display in the 3-1 humbling against Man City last month.

It is clear from Emery’s team selection that the manager has banked on his experience in the crucial games but Lichtsteiner has been way off the pace, failing to deliver the goods.

Truth be told, the veteran is past his prime and he is only a shadow of his former self at Arsenal. The Swiss international was regarded as one of the best right-backs in Europe in his youthful days but age has taken a toll on his fitness levels.

The 35-year-old hasn’t managed to provide the lively and energetic presence that Arsenal need to comply with Emery’s pressing philosophy, and a younger right-back would certainly do a better job.

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The Gunners have looked vulnerable defensively under Emery and the manager has plenty to think about heading into the next season.

A back up to Bellerin at right-back, a replacement for Nacho Monreal at left-back and a long-term successor to Laurent Koscielny at the heart of the defence should be on the manager’s priority list in the summer.

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Suffice to say, offering Stephan Lichtsteiner a new deal would make little sense for Arsenal and it would only increase their wage bill. The Gunners should look to invest heavily in the summer to shore up their leaky backline and it is difficult to see why they would need the 35-year-old next season.

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