Make no mistake, reports linking the French defender to Arsenal are nothing new, after all, young Frenchmen with a promising tag rarely escape Wenger's radar, but this is the first time a bid has been confirmed. It's been a long time since Squillaci made his Ligue One debut, and if purchased, it would be to fill that dearth of experience left by Sol Campbell and William Gallas.
Is Squillaci the man to fill their very large boots? Make no mistake about it, the 35-year old Sol Campbell was hardly ever going to see himself as first choice centre back, and a schizophrenic would have less issues with his mentality than Gallas, but they were still two defenders we will miss. Gallas, especially, was one of those players who could save a game for Arsenal, and in a some games, he truly was immense.
We all know what we're losing in Campbell and Gallas (and gaining in losing Silvestre), but what does Squillaci offer? Surely a man with four major trophies under his belt would have something to offer?
The centre-back comes from Spain, with a reputation of knowing how to play his role. The 6'0" Squillaci may not be the man-mountain some Arsenal fans believe they need at the back, but he knows how to position himself and has the strength to hold off opponents. Added to this is a formidable reputation in the air and great stamina. See below, for some video evidence (apologies for the soundtrack you might want to scratch your fingernails on a blackboard to cover the noise or something)
However, the point remains. Squillaci is not the world-class centre back Arsenal fans crave. He may have played for France, although with their last World Cup campaign, that is more of a negative than anything else. But even then, he was one of the more forgettable defenders, and the 30-year old no longer has the time to become world class.
Whereas he might increase competition (and depth) in the defensive ranks, alongside Djourou and Koscielny, will his signing really address the ever increasing defensive problems Arsenal seem to have? Last season maulings from Manchester United, Chelsea, and Barcelona illustrated how far we still have to go.
And the worst part? The Frenchman would also arrive with a history of injury problems.
Although I'm willing to give Squillaci a chance to show us what can give Arsenal, and I do trust Wenger's judgement, I think the entire scenario can be summed up by a summer of being linked to Everton's invisible wall, Phil Jagielka, and Roma's proven Mexes. The signing of Squillaci carries some weight of disappointment.
What are your opinions on Squillaci? Would you like to see a bigger name at Arsenal or has Wenger found yet another shrewd purchase? I'd especially like to hear the opinions of those that have often seen his performances in La Liga.
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