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'I need to be playing regularly' - Lichtsteiner leaves door open to Arsenal exit

The Switzerland defender has posted an emotional goodbye on social media as he leaves north London after just one season

Arsenal defender Stephan Lichtsteiner has confirmed that he is happy with his current role in the Gunners set-up, while refusing to rule out the possibility of leaving at the end of the season. 

The Switzerland international became Unai Emery's first signing at the Emirates Stadium last summer upon joining on a free transfer from Juventus. 

He signed a one-year deal and has performed a utility role in his first season, deputising for Hector Bellerin at right-back when needed and also featuring on the left side of defence. 

At 35, Lichtsteiner is one of the senior members of the Arsenal squad, and he insists he is satisfied with his role as a fringe player in north London.

"I'm 35 years old, I need a little more recovery time," he explained to Neue Zurcher Zeitung.

"I'm not angry if I do not play from the start. And yes, I'm in a good health."

"I have had a top career. I am calm. I enjoy it. Arsenal is a top club. It’s clear that playing there is always more difficult.

"I came to a new country, a new club. I had to get to know a new culture, new people, a new league, a new tactic.

Negotiations have begun over an extension to his current deal, but Lichtsteiner - who last featured for Arsenal at the end of February - admits he needs to gauge whether he will still play a part in Emery's plans.

"This will need time. The fact that I play at a top club at the age of 35 says enough. There have been talks [with Arsenal]. We have to see if it suits both sides," he added.

"Arsenal is a big club, I feel very happy. But I want to play regularly with regard to the European Championships. 

"It was okay this year. But if the coach says that he no longer counts on me, I have to worry."