Search

I couldn't say no to Wenger, says new signing Squillaci

PUBLISHED: 15:01 25 August 2010 | UPDATED: 11:09 14 October 2010

France's defender Sebastien Squillaci heads the ball during the Group A first round 2010 World Cup football match France vs. South Africa on June 22, 2010 at Free State Stadium in Mangaung/Bloemfontein. South Africa won 2-1.  NO PUSH TO MOBILE / MOBILE USE SOLELY WITHIN EDITORIAL ARTICLE  -      AFP PHOTO / HOANG DINH NAM (Photo credit should read HOANG DINH NAM/AFP/Getty Images)

France's defender Sebastien Squillaci heads the ball during the Group A first round 2010 World Cup football match France vs. South Africa on June 22, 2010 at Free State Stadium in Mangaung/Bloemfontein. South Africa won 2-1. NO PUSH TO MOBILE / MOBILE USE SOLELY WITHIN EDITORIAL ARTICLE - AFP PHOTO / HOANG DINH NAM (Photo credit should read HOANG DINH NAM/AFP/Getty Images)

2010 AFP

SEBASTIEN Squillaci admits it was practically impossible to refuse the chance to play for Arsene Wenger, after the centre-back completed his £5million move to Arsenal from Sevilla this week. France international Squillaci arrived at the Emirates as Weng

SEBASTIEN Squillaci admits it was "practically impossible" to refuse the chance to play for Arsene Wenger, after the centre-back completed his £5million move to Arsenal from Sevilla this week.

France international Squillaci arrived at the Emirates as Wenger further bolstered his defensive ranks before the transfer window shuts, with Squillaci's countryman William Gallas jumping ship to north London rivals Tottenham on a free transfer.

The 6ft 1ins tall centre-back is Wenger's second defensive addition of the summer following Laurent Koscielny's arrival in July. And Squillaci, who sat out Sevilla's Champions League tie with Braga last week to avoid being cup-tied, concedes he had no hesitation in making the move.

"If a French player receives an offer from Arsene Wenger, it's practically impossible to turn down," said 30-year-old Squillaci.

"It was a sensational offer for me and I was happy Sevilla let me go. It was a difficult situation but I knew I had to take this chance. I knew if I played against Braga then I would not have been able to play for Arsenal in the Champions League.

"Arsenal were always the team I watched out for. For any spectator like me, you had to watch a squad with Thierry Henry, Robert Pires, Patrick Vieira and William Gallas. Now, I'm happy to have my name in the history books.

"For me, this is a great new challenge and I've gone there purely to be part of that.

"I don't think my age is a problem. My experience in football is great and players of my age tend to be at the peak of their playing career."

Squillaci has made 21 appearances for France, and was a key figure of the Monaco side which reached the 2004 Champions League final. It was at Monaco that he established himself as a muscular, physical defender, characteristics which drew the attention of Sevilla coach Manolo Jimenez in 2008, and the same attributes which attracted Wenger.

The Arsenal boss has made no secret of his desire to add further defensive cover this season following the departures of Gallas and Sol Campbell, which left Thomas Vermaelen, Koscielny and Johann Djourou as Arsenal's only centre-backs.

Squillaci is unlikely to be a regular starter at the Emirates, but Wenger is hoping his experience and big-match know-how will make him a key member of the side as the games come thick and fast in the latter stages of the season.

Gallas, meanwhile, leaves Arsenal after four years and 145 appearances with the Gunners, with the 33-year-old admitting it "was not an easy decision".


If you value what this story gives you, please consider supporting the Islington Gazette. Click the link in the orange box below for details.

Become a supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years, through good times and bad, serving as your advocate and trusted source of local information. Our industry is facing testing times, which is why I’m asking for your support. Every single contribution will help us continue to produce award-winning local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Thank you.

Most Read

Most Read

Latest from the Islington Gazette