London (AFP) – England international defender Calum Chmbers is willing to battle to gain a first choice place at Arsenal after signing a long term contract on Tuesday.
The 23-year-old — whose international career has stalled since joining Arsenal from Southampton in 2014 with the last of his three caps coming four years ago — says he is keen to prove he is worthy of a regular run out for the first team to new manager Unai Emery.
Although he played at right-back occasionally under Emery’s predecessor Arsene Wenger he is normally a centreback and will compete with the likes of veteran French international Laurent Koscielny and new Greek arrival Sokratis Papastathopoulos, who signed on Monday for a reported fee of £17.7million ($23.3million).
“I’m really proud, really pleased and excited for this season and what lies ahead,” he told Arsenal Player.
“I’ve really enjoyed it, it is a great club and there have been ups and downs but that is football, that is a career.
“I’ve met some great people here and I’m really excited about the future and I want to kick on and prove to everyone the player I can be.”
Chambers was loaned out to Middlesbrough in their ill-fated battle to retain their Premier League status in the 2016/17 campaign and preferred to remain with the Gunners despite Leicester being keen to sign him last summer.
He ended up playing 24 times for Arsenal last term and was especially prominent in their run to the Europa League semi-finals.
Emery said Chambers would definitely figure in his side in the forthcoming season.
“I’m delighted Calum has extended his stay with us,” Emery told the Arsenal website.
“He played an important role last season and will be part of my plans this season,” added the 46-year-old Spaniard.
Emery has also brought in seasoned Swiss defender Stephan Lichtsteiner and goalkeeper Bernd Leno since becoming the surprise choice to succeed Wenger after the Frenchman brought to an end two decades in charge.