In Juventus’ recent era of dominance in Serie A, wing-back Stephan Lichtsteiner has been a constant – but things could be about to change.
The 30-year-old is yet to renew his expiring contract with the Turin outfit and a January closes in the Bianconeri are under pressure to find a solution.
General director Beppe Marotta continues to claim that the club hierarchy are confident about locking the Swiss international down to a renewal, but questions remain.
Reports have claimed that Lichtsteiner and Juventus aren’t far apart on their respective demands and offer, though conceivably something will have to give.
Lichtsteiner is believed to be asking for £2.4 million per season – about £45,000 per week – while Juventus are so far willing to offer as high as £2 million per annum.
The gap between the two sides has left the Bianconeri vulnerable to interest from Arsenal, who have already made contact with the defender per Sky Sport Italia’s Gianluca Di Marzio.
Should Lichtsteiner not commit to Juventus the Gunners could either make overtures to sign him in January at a discount, or negotiate a pre-contract that would see him move to North London next summer.
Of course, Arsene Wenger’s side aren’t the only ones who’ve been eyeing up the opportunity. Inter have also linked, and now another Serie A said have reportedly entered the frame.
According to Calciomercato.it, Roma are willing to meet Lichtsteiner’s desired pay packet of £2.4 million per season in order to sign him from their rivals on a free transfer.
However, there are a number of possible issues with this scenario.
Roma could do with another right-back with 33-year-old Maicon suffering from repeated injuries, leaving the burden almost entirely on Vasilis Torosidis.
But with Lichtsteiner approaching 30, he’s not a young player himself, and physical deterioration is a genuine concern with high-energy full-backs.
Meanwhile, wages of £2.4 million a season would put him in the top five earners at the club, ahead of the likes of Kevin Strootman and Francesco Totti.
It would thus be somewhat of an odd move to see Roma sign Lichtsteiner – who as a current Juventus and former Lazio player would also have to agree to join a major rival.
The report thus shouldn’t be too troubling to Arsenal, whose ability to sign Lichtsteiner will most likely hinge on whether Juventus are successful renewing his contract.
Lichtsteiner’s current employers are the most formidable competition for the Gunners here, as the chances Roma makes a concrete move look rather remote at the moment.