£4m Arsenal defensive flop scores the winner in France


Sebastien Squillaci became something of a cult comedy hero at Arsenal. But last night he was simply a hero for SC Bastia.

Arsenal now have possibly their most settled centre back partnership in years, with Per Mertesacker and Laurent Koscielny forming a terrific bond at the heart of defence.

But over the years the club has tried in vain to bring in centre backs to shore up their defence - and there has of course been a few duds in that pile.

Pascal Cygan, Igor Stepanovs, Johan Djourou …. Sebastien Squillaci?

We must all remember Squillaci who signed for the club in 2010 for a fee in the region of £4 million from Sevilla. He arrived an experienced, French international who would surely be a success at the club, nobody felt he would be a failure.

But he never really made the grade at The Emirates, and after his first season - he played just seven more times over the next two years.

When his contract expired in the summer, he returned to France. He signed for Corsican club Bastia on a free transfer, joining the likes of Mickael Landreau and Milos Krasic at the club.

But despite not being the best performer while at The Emirates, Squillaci did become something of a cult hero.

This status seemed to stem from his general ineptitude more than anything else - but also I think from his steely pride and quiet demeanour despite being effectively outcasted by the North London club in his final years as a Gunner.

That or it was because his sometimes comical performances were always light relief.

But that Squillaci is now forgotten - as he is now at the heart of the Bastia defence, as they sit in a comfortable mid-table position in the league.

And yesterday Squillaci even got to play the hero.

He bagged a goal in the 36th minute to earn Bastia a 1-0 victory against Nice in Ligue 1 yesterday. He ghosted in at the far post from a Ryad Boudebouz corner to give Bastia the lead in a game that saw three players sent off.

He didn’t score many at Arsenal, bagging two in his debut season against Stoke City and Partizan Belgrade, and this was his first for Bastia.

And we are sure that Arsenal fans will raise a wry smile for the match-winning effects of their former flop. We would love to bring you an embed of the video, but Ligue 1 have very strict regulations on the sharing of their highlights … so instead, here is Squillaci in action for Arsenal instead, sort of…

image: © http://www.flickr.com/photos/wonker/

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