Escude surprised by Squillaci conduct

Sevilla centre-back Julien Escude has spoken of his surprise at Sebastien Squillaci's decision to force through a move to Arsenal, after it emerged the Frenchman refused to play in the Spanish team's Champions League qualifier with Braga last week.

Arsenal have agreed a reported £5 million fee with the Spanish club and the 30-year-old jetted in to London on Sunday evening to discuss personal terms and undergo a medical, where he is expected to complete the deal within the next 48 hours.

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Despite Squillaci's age, the Gunners are believed to have offered the Frenchman a three-year contract, going against their previous policy of only offering 12-month deal's to their over-30 brigade.

But Escude - who was once a target for Manchester United - has admitted his shock at the way his former team-mate has conducted himself, as Squillaci did not want to become cup-tied in Europe and jeopardise his chances of a move to Emirates Stadium.

“When the coach gave his team talk, Sebastien [Squillaci] was starting," Escude told reporters. "Then, I do not know what happened, with the coach or Monchi [Sevilla's sporting director], but there was a change in the line-up.

“Later, we knew Sebastien refused to play. I am personally a little surprised, but these are things that happen in football. I guess he wanted to leave.”

Sevilla lost the game 1-0 in Braga and then went on to get drubbed 4-0 by Spanish champions Barcelona, with Lionel Messi bagging a hat-trick in Squillaci's absence as the Catalans lifted the Spanish Super Cup on Sunday.

Squillaci is considered by Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger as one of France's best central defenders and will be seen as a direct replacement for Willam Gallas, who joined the Gunners' North London rivals Tottenham Hotspur on Sunday.

In an injury ravaged campaign last term, he only managed to make 14 league starts for Sevilla having been a near ever-present the year before. 

By James Martini

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