Squillaci - I couldn't refuse
Sevilla defender Sebastien Squillaci admits it was 'practically impossible' to reject an offer from Arsenal.
Last Updated: 26/08/10 12:52pm
Sevilla defender Sebastien Squillaci admits it was 'practically impossible' to reject an offer from fellow Frenchman Arsene Wenger at Arsenal.
The Primera Liga club confirmed on Monday they have accepted a bid from the Gunners for Squillaci, who is expected to complete a medical on Tuesday with a view to finalising his deal at the Emirates before the transfer window closes next week.
The 30-year-old centre-back, who caused uproar when he refused to play for Sevilla against Braga in last week's UEFA Champions League play-off to avoid being cup-tied, is delighted by the prospect of linking up with his compatriot Wenger at the North London club.
"If a French player receives an offer from Arsene Wenger, it's practically impossible to turn down," Squillaci told the Guardian.
"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."
He added: "Arsenal were always the team I watched out for. For any spectator like me, you had to watch 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 new challenge and I've gone there purely to be part of that.
"I don't think my age is a problem. My experience in football is great and players of my age tend to be at the peak of their playing career."
Sevilla suffered a 1-0 defeat in the play-off Squillaci chose to miss, leaving them facing an uphill battle in the return leg on Tuesday, and the stopper has come under fire for his behaviour.
But coach Antonio Alvarez, while unhappy with the defender's absence, is keen to put the controversy behind him.
"I didn't like the fact Squillaci didn't want to play but the circumstances turned out that way," said Alvarez.
"I turned over a new page and forgot about the issue."
If Squillaci does put pen to paper at Arsenal he will provide a welcome boost to a squad weakened in defence by the exits of William Gallas, Mikael Silvestre, Sol Campbell and Philippe Senderos.
A statement on the Sevilla website on Monday evening read: "Defender Sebastien Squillaci is tonight travelling to London to have a medical at Arsenal, the club he will be transferred to after an agreement was reached by the two clubs pending the results of the medical."