With five Arsenal first teamers in their final 12 months of their contracts, we here at allArsenal.com are having a look at the players on the list and the status of their negotiations or lack there of. Next up is Sebastien Squillaci.
Arsenal Fact File:
Name: Sebastien Squillaci
Born: August 11, 1980, Toulon, France
Position: Central defender
Previous Club(s): SC Toulon, AS Monaco B, AC Ajaccio, AS Monaco, Olympique Lyon, Sevilla FC
Joined Arsenal: August 28, 2010
Total Appearances: 34+4
Total Goals: 2
Total Assists: 0
2013 Expiring contracts: Sebastien Squillaci [Part 2]
When I was a six-year-old kid, the very first special football competition in my life was ready for kick-off – Italia 90, the first World Cup that I watched. Yes, I was tracking the First Division of Yugoslavia, a strong competition won by Crvena Zvezda, a team that I hated in a way like people that watch Premiership these days hate Manchester United, but the World Cup was something special. I was hoping that Yugoslavia will win it and I read everything that I could find about Italia 90.
I knew a lot of players from most squads and my knowledge of those facts were interesting to my elder pals at the playground. I can’t remember why – was it because I celebrated one of my (rare) goals screaming: “Schillaci” or because Salvatore “Toto” Schillaci was the player that I mentioned in most cases when they were testing my knowledge – but I earned the nickname “Schillaci” after the one-hit-wonder from Juventus and the Italian national team. Schillaci was on the scoresheet six times at Italia 90 and earned himself the Golden Boot. He scored 6 out of 9 goals Italy scored at that World Cup. I can only imagine the look on the faces of my parents when my pals came at my door to ask: “May Schillaci come out and play with us?” Italia 90 turned out to be Schillaci’s swan song as he never reached the form that he has in during 1989-90. Very few of those pals recall that nickname I proudly wore before I started with primary school.
When Sebastien Squillaci (also nicknamed Toto after Schillaci, player that has a similar last name and same initials like Squillaci) joined Arsenal at August 2010, I was very happy with that transfer. I knew Squillaci from strong teams that Monaco, Lyon and Sevilla had. Each of those teams managed to become one of the best at their respective leagues and in Europe at the time, they won some trophies and Squillaci was an integral part of their line-up.
Arsenal’s central defense wasn’t its very best at the time with veterans Campbell and Gallas leaving us and, despite Squillaci was already 30 when he joined us, he seemed to be the reinforcement for our defensive line. We conceded too many easy goals and we were unable to handle world-class strikers like Rooney and Drogba which was the main reason we had a horrible record against Manchester United and Chelsea while I also remembered him scoring goals like the one he scored against Real Madrid at Bernabeu. I thought that Toto will fix that. It seems that I didn’t learn too much from my previous optimism regarding French central defenders who wore number 18 at Arsenal (I was convinced Silvestre and Cygan will at least give decent cover for our starting central defenders).
It turned out that Toto didn’t realize he isn’t in Kansas anymore and Wenger wasn’t the Wizard of Oz that would give him the pace he needed for English football. His pace wasn’t good enough for the Premier League and, despite the fact he did score the winning goal in the home-match against Stoke and one goal in the 3-1 victory over Partizan in Belgrade, he was rarely anything else than a liability and the weakest link in our defense. Maybe it was just bad luck that Squillaci came in as a substitute against Newcastle while the score was still 4-0 for us, that he was the one playing in the starting 11 that lost 2-3 at home against the Spuds, 2-3 at home against WBA or 0-1 against Newcastle in the same season or that of all players it was his header that fell on the foot of Bobby Zamora in 92nd minute in last seasons away defeat against Fulham (the only 10 minutes Squillaci played in the Premier League last season) but it was probably because Squillaci’s clumsiness caused him to break a lot of mirrors before he joined Arsenal.
His performances in 2010-11 and the fact that Vermaelen is susceptible to injuries caused Wenger to sign Mertesacker so he can play Squillaci only in rare occasions in 2011-12. Despite being the only Arsenal player from the current squad that tasted atmosphere of a Champions’ League final and not too old for top-level football, Squillaci’s best days are obviously behind him and with Squillaci being behind Vermaelen, Mertesacker, Koscielny, Djourou and probably even our youngster Miquel in the pecking order, it seems Squillaci has played his last match for Arsenal already. Being the sixth choice defender in the team can hardly please someone who had such a high profile career like Squillaci, but there are very few clubs mentioned as possible destinations for him. On the other hand, being paid more than 3 million pounds per year for doing absolutely nothing while wearing Arsenal equipment sounds like a dream job. All clubs that was approaching Arsenal over Squillaci (Olympiacos, Bastia, Monaco) couldn’t pay the player’s wage and that is the main reason why he hasn’t left Arsenal. I guess he is going to see out his contract at Arsenal and than leave to a less demanding team and league.
Squillaci is 32, he played 10 minutes of real football for Arsenal in 2012 and made one poor clearance that lead to our opponents winning goal, his best days are well behind him and his wage is enormous. I think it is safe to say that he shouldn’t be given a new contract.
So, monsieur Wenger, sell him in January, if there is anyone who is willing to take him for 1 pound and pay his wage. If not, do exactly the same thing Squillaci will do – wait until his contract expires and next time use £3.12 million pounds per year to lure someone who is a quality goalkeeper, defender, midfielder or attacker to sign a contract with Arsenal.
On the other hand, I will do my best to curb my enthusiasm next time a recognizible French defender comes to Arsenal and express his desire to wear the No. 18 shirt.