Stephan Lichtsteiner buoyed by big Arsenal ‘personalities’ as club bids to return to Champions League

Stephan Lichtsteiner insists that Arsenal have enough big personalities in their dressing room to succeed this season as he spoke of his “hunger” to return the club to the Champions League.

The 34-year-old, who became new head coach Unai Emery’s first signing this summer, won the domestic title in each of his seven seasons at Juventus.

Emery cited Lichtsteiner’s “experience and leadership” following his arrival this summer, with the full-back expected to bring a winning mentality to the Arsenal dressing room.

But Lichtsteiner said there is no shortage of “good personalities” in the side despite Arsenal being frequently accused of lacking leaders.

“I’ve already seen good personalities in this team. I don’t see that, what they wrote or what they said,” Lichtsteiner said. “I think of course if you have experienced players in the team, it’s good for young players who can use you as an example of how to work.

“I don’t feel that there’s not a big personality in this team. I see a very good team with a lot of quality, a lot of good players and characters. I don’t see a problem.”

Arsenal begin their Europa League campaign at home to Ukraine’s Vorskla Poltava on Thursday night. Emery won the competition three times with Sevilla and Arsenal would be guaranteed a place in next season’s Champions League if he were to win it for a fourth time.

“To come back to the glamour games you need to win first the other games,” said Lichtsteiner, who has played in just one game this season.

“Now we are in the situation that we are playing Europa League and we will try to win that so hopefully next year we can speak about the Champions League. I am hungry to get back to the Champions League. But it is a long way and we have two chances – the Europa League and the Premier League.”

Meanwhile, Emery has spoken of his “very close” relationship with Ivan Gazidis, the chief executive who announced this week that he will be leaving the club to join AC Milan.

Raul Sanllehi, who was head of football relations, has been appointed head of football, while Vinai Venkatesham moves from chief commercial officer to managing director.

“The first three months with Ivan were very important for me because he’s a big person, and a professional person too,” Emery said.

“The relationship between us was very close for three months. We spoke a lot about football, about management, about how big Arsenal is and our responsibility. His decision is a private one which I respect. I know Ivan is giving us the best next people to take the responsibility to continue to do good work.”