Arsenal are set to kick off the transfer window with a double defensive signing, and both deals could be completed as early as the start of next week.
Unai Emery has been quick to enter talks with Stephan Lichtsteiner, whose contract runs out next month at Juventus. Now aged 34, Emery clearly feels the experience and tactical nous of Lichtsteiner would add something to an Arsenal backline that has performed below par for a number of seasons. Hector Bellerin is currently the only natural right back in the squad following the departure of Mathieu Debuchy in January. Bellerin’s performance levels have dropped recently, and that could be due to the fact he’s had to play a huge number of minutes, Lichtsteiner’s arrival would allow for him to learn from the Swiss International and to share the workload a little. Lichtsteiner is set to sign a two-year deal.
Lichtsteiner has won a lot of silverware with Juventus in his 7 years at the club, and he has made a massive 98 caps for Switzerland. As well as playing as a right back, he can play in a more advanced role, suiting the right wing-back role in a back five very naturally.
The other signing Arsenal are closing in on is that of Sokratis Papastathopoulos. Sokratis is another experienced defender who now aged 29, has just one year remaining on his deal at Dortmund. Sokratis is 6ft 1′, has 79 caps for Greece and has been a regular for Dortmund in his 5 years at the club, making 130 appearances. It’s clear what Emery and the Arsenal hierarchy want to add to the club’s defensive options. Experience.
Sven Mislintat was influential in bringing Aubameyang and Mkhitaryan to the club in January and now he is set to add another former Borussia Dortmund player in Sokratis. Dortmund will allow the 29-year-old defender to leave for a fee of around £15million, with a fee between the two clubs close to being agreed. The Greek defender hasn’t had the best of seasons, but he is highly rated by Mislintat and others and would add experience and steel to an Arsenal backline that definitely is deficient in those areas.