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Arsenal: Why Sebastien Squillaci Is Arsenal's Biggest Waste of Space

LONDON, ENGLAND - JANUARY 30:  Sebastien Squillaci #30 of Arsenal reacts as he is shown a straight red card by Referee Mark Clattenburg after his foul on Jack Hunt of Huddersfield during the FA Cup sponsored by E.ON fourth round match between Arsenal and Huddersfield Town at The Emirates Stadium on January 30, 2011 in London, England.  (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images)
Clive Mason/Getty Images
Charlie MelmanCorrespondent IIMarch 7, 2013

Much has been written about the deadwood that had existed in Arsenal's squad for years.

Since I started following the club several years ago, there have been several players who seemed to be much more determined to stay within the cushy confines of London Colney and the Emirates Stadium than take a pay cut and move to a lesser team.

This is not a problem that only exists in the red half of North London, though it may seem that way to Arsenal fans.

At Chelsea, Florent Malouda has been in exile all season because he refuses to restructure what is obviously a very hefty contract, in line with the sort of ludicrous salaries that Roman Abramovich and the world's sugar daddies have been paying the past several years.

Arsene Wenger's socialist wage structure has produced similarly entitled players who are extremely difficult to move on.

It took a season-long loan and some very protracted transfer negotiations to simply get Carlos Vela to Real Sociedad. And outcast loanees such as Denilson, Ju-Young Park, Marouane Chamakh, Andre Santos and Nicklas Bendtner are still technically Arsenal players, as incredible as that sounds.

Bendtner's case typifies the difficulty players have with parting with their soft life and moving somewhere new. Two late, rushed loan moves have produced no success for the Dane, and he still has a contract that runs until 2014.

Yet there is an entirely different class of player who will not even consider leaving the club when the opportunity is presented to him.

All of the aforementioned players actually left the club when given the chance to play. Not doing so is the ultimate example of entitlement, lack of competitive spirit and flat out giving up.

Arsenal currently have such a man in their squad. He also happens to be the oldest and least-used member of the team, and one of Arsene Wenger's worst-ever transfers.

I am referring, of course, to Sebastien Squillaci.

When the Frenchman was signed, few would have thought that it would all turn so horribly wrong in such a short amount of time.

Squillaci seemed like exactly what Arsenal needed during the summer of 2010: an experienced, grizzled, international defender who was yet another of Wenger's remarkable bargain buys.

Apparently his former club Sevilla knew something that the Gunners didn't back then.

A series of horrendous defensive errors and displays that lack any sort of pace or conviction made it clear that Squillaci is simply not good enough for this level of football. He was actually given the captain's armband on one or two occasions a couple months into his tenure, but he could not translate that experience into actual results.

Just how far down the pecking order has Squillaci slipped? He has made a grand total of one appearance this season, in Arsenal's first Capital One Cup game. Other than that cameo, zero pitch time.

And yet he continues to make a rumored £50,000 per week for jogging around Arsenal's training ground with the rest of the squad, while getting the dignity of being listed as a first-team player on the club's website.

Even they have a hard time coming up with something nice to say about Squillaci. Of the eight paragraphs that comprise his brief biography, only three actually discuss his time at Arsenal.

The club wouldn't have to stretch so hard, though, if Squillaci would just get out of their hair and accept a loan move somewhere, like any rational player who values his career would.

According to John Cross of the Daily Mirror, the Frenchman is not that type of individual, as he rejected a move to Brighton during the last transfer window.

#afc Sebastien Squillaci has turned down loan move to Brighton. He's been offered free transfer, out of contract in summer. Why not play?

— John Cross (@johncrossmirror) January 31, 2013

And Ray Parlour's response, as the exact opposite type of player in his day, is wonderful.

@johncrossmirror Food to nice at the Training Ground!

— Ray Parlour (@RealRomfordPele) January 31, 2013

When people who actually know something about and have respect for the sport start laughing about a player's blatant disregard for his own career, you know something's horribly wrong.

Andrey Arshavin was in a similar situation this season, and rejected a loan move to Reading. That is equally egregious, but Arsene Wenger has felt better about using his little Russian. Arshavin has appeared nine times as frequently as Squillaci, and actually has some discernible footballing ability left.

For Squillaci it is, and has long been, over for him at Arsenal. For the reputation and financial sake of the club, let's hope the deadest piece of deadwood the Gunners have carried in years moves on as soon as possible.

It might just take the end of his contract and a stiff kick out the door to accomplish that, though.

 

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