Former Arsenal player recounts his experience during his three season stay at the club.
Sabastien Squillaci joined Arsenal from Sevilla in the summer of 2010 when Thomas Vermaelen was out with a long-term injury. He started well in his first season, forming a superb partnership with Laurent Koscielny.
However, poor form saw him fall below in pecking order when Per Mertesacker joined the club the following season. He had to leave on a bosman since the club refused to extend his contract.
The central defender conversing with France Football, had the following to say.
It was difficult to swallow, especially because I played everywhere else before. But I was over 30. We were thinking about everything in this case: football, family, the contract… And I was at Arsenal, a very big club. I remain privileged. You have to be conscious of that. So, I trained even harder to try to stay physically in shape.
I also know on daily basis to gage how fortunate I have been to do this job. I started my professional career at AC Ajaccio, in Ligue 2, and I remember that we often changed training ground because the club did not have one and that we had to clean our kit at home.
I have had a lot of experiences in my career that help me to relativise. The most important thing is to be on the pitch, to play. At Bastia, I have found joy again with an infatuation and a fervour that seduced me immediately. We have 11 or 12 thousand fans on average and one inhabitant out of five in “Grand Bastia” has a season ticket. I have found the passion again which has filled the void of my last two seasons at Arsenal…
The 35-year-old made only one appearance in his final season at the club. He considered leaving on loan in search of game time but reneged the move due to family reasons.
… My final season at Arsenal was particularly difficult. I could have sent myself out on loan in order to play more, but we had just had a little girl. We would have had to move everything whilst knowing that we would move again anyway the following season.
It is one thing not to defend properly but making major defensive errors like his lame clearing header that met Bobby Zamora is shameful. The eventual volley from the then Fulham player was quite resounding; they won 2-1 on the day.
It is good news he is playing regularly for Ligue 1 side, Bastia, where he has been a mainstay in their defence for three seasons now.