Squillaci: I had to sign for Arsenal

Arsenal transfer target Sebastien Squillaci has revealed that he could not turn down a move to join Arsene Wenger.

Squillaci underwent a medical at Emirates Stadium on Monday and is close to securing a £5 million deal to leave Sevilla for the Gunners.

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The French defender was due to play for the Spaniards against Braga in last week’s Champions League qualifier but, after apparently being named in the starting XI, he withdrew from the team to avoid becoming cup-tied in Europe.

Speaking to The Guardian, Squillaci said: “If a French player receives an offer from Arsene Wenger, its practically impossible to turn down.

“It was a sensational offer for me and I was happy Sevilla let me go. It was a difficult situation but I knew I had to take this chance. I knew if I played against Braga then I would not have been able to play for Arsenal in the Champions League.”

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Wenger has been in charge of the Gunners since 1996 and has built two double-winning sides as well as the ‘Invincibles’ of 2004.

Despite being trophyless since 2005, Squillaci is excited to be joining the French legacy at Arsenal.

He said: “Arsenal were always the team I watched out for.

“For any spectator like me you had a squad with Thierry Henry, Robert Pires, Patrick Vieira and William Gallas.

“Now I’m happy to have my name in the history books. For me, this is a great challenge and I’ve gone there purely to be part of that.”

The 30-year-old French international has bags of experience in the Champions League with Lyon and Sevilla and played in the 2004 final with Monaco.

He was part of the French World Cup squad this summer, playing against South Africa in the final group match.

Squillaci said: I don’t think my age is a problem. My experience in football is great and players at my age tend to be at the peak of their playing career.”

By Dave Peddie

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