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Squillaci the answer to Arsenal’s shortage of defensive options

| 19.08.2010

Arsene Wenger is close to adding another Frenchman to his ranks by turning to Sebastien Squillaci as the answer to his woes in central defence.

The 30-year-old was withdrawn from the Sevilla squad that lost to Braga in the Champions League last night to ensure that the potential switch to London was not jeopardised by him being cup-tied from European competition this season.

Arsenal are 16/1 to win the Champions League for the first time and Squillaci would add useful experience to the backline after Philippe Senderos, Sol Campbell and French colleagues William Gallas and Mikael Silvestre all left the Emirates during the close season.

Per Mertesacker, Gary Cahill and Phil Jagielka are other names that have been linked with a move to the Gunners, but any such deals have failed to materialise.

Meanwhile, Johan Djourou has only just recovered from 15 months on the sidelines after knee ligament surgery, leaving Thomas Vermaelen and new recruit Laurent Koscielny as the only recognised fully-fit first-team defenders at the club.

Squillaci was also a member of the French squad which made the headlines for the wrong reasons at the World Cup, although he never made an appearance in the tournament.

However, he is unlikely to seal any move in time for Arsenal’s first home Premier League game of the season against Blackpool.

Djourou and Alex Song are vying for a place alongside Vermaelen against the Seesiders as Koscielny is suspended following his red card against Liverpool, but the bulk of the play is expected to be at the other end of the pitch.

Arsenal are 1/6 to pick up the three points, with Blackpool 14/1 to follow up on their unexpected victory over Wigan on the opening day of the season with an even bigger upset.

Is Squillaci the man to help Arsenal win the Premier League? They are 6/1 to claim their first title since 2005.



Ed Needham