The odds that you actually saw Sebastien Squillaci play in an Arsenal shirt are only slightly better than the odds that you have found a four-leaf clover in your lifetime. He only made 39 appearances across all competitions over his three-year stint at the Emirates. I watched almost all of Arsenal’s matches during that time and the only thing I remember about him is how vertical his name looked at the bottom of the team sheet; those “i’s” and “l’s” stood out.
Squillaci was signed from Sevilla for £4 million in the summer of 2010 to provide cover for the oft-injured first choice CB pairing of Laurent Koscielny and Thomas Vermaelen. Johan Djourou was also on the team — another guy that struggled to stay healthy and never really cut it at Arsenal. Squillaci made his first Arsenal appearance, surprise surprise, for an injured Thomas Vermaelen. He had an up-and-down first season at the club.
Now, I’m not saying that Per Mertesacker was signed in the summer of 2011 because Squillaci wasn’t good enough, but I’m also not not saying that. It’s never a good sign when a club brings in another player at your position the season after you join.
Looking back through the records, there is an unfortunate convergence of “times Squillaci appeared” and “Arsenal knocked out of X competition” matches, which is especially not good for a centerback. In a February 2012 FA Cup 5th Round match at Sunderland, Squillaci replaced an injured Francis Coquelin early in the match, deflected a shot into the Arsenal net, and was substituted off in the 52nd minute. Arsenal lost 2-0.
He just wasn’t at the right level for the Gunners. Squillaci left the club when his contract expired after the 2012-13 season. He retired from professional football in 2017 after struggling to recover from an ACL injury.
Fun fact: Squillaci played for two “national” teams — 21 for France, 3 for Corsica. Corsica plays friendlies against European countries despite being a part of France and is not affiliated with FIFA, which is why he could play for them.
Let’s all raise a glass to Sebastien Squillaci tonight. A guy who played some games for Arsenal. Cheers!