Arsenal have agreed a deal with Seville for Sebastien Squillaci. The Spaniards put a statement on their website last night to confirm the deal, and to say that Squillaci would be in London today for his medical at Arsenal. Depending on what paper you read the fee ranges from £4m to £5.5m. Whatever it is, at that sort of price, it seems a fairly risk-free acquisition. An experienced French international, who plays in a position where we are chronically short, has to be welcomed with open arms. Squillaci certainly looks tough and mean, so let's hope he plays that way. I expect him to be first-choice alongside Vermaelen, with the injury-prone Djourou and inexperienced Koscielny providing the back-up, along with Alex Song as required. The deal might be completed today. Keep your eye on arsenal.com for any confirmation.
With four centre-backs, plus Song, we now have that position seemingly covered. If we can get our new goalkeeper, which looks increasingly likely to be Schwarzer (beggars can not be choosers, I suppose) and another defensive midfield player to play alongside Alex Song then we can really challenge for the Title. On the subject of Schwarzer, TalkSport reported last night that he had failed a medical - complete nonsense. As the bandwagon of "news" on this subject rumbled through Twitter and various messageboards last night I saw the most ridiculous claim - that Schwarzer had failed a medical given to him by Fulham, who had informed Arsenal. Just consider the validity/stupidity of that statement. Why would Fulham give him a medical for Arsenal? As I said, complete nonsense.
The Reserves won the Platinum One Challenge in Dublin yesterday. Having previously beaten a strong Man Utd Reserve team (including Fabio, Macheda and Ugly Neville no.1) last week, the youngsters beat hosts, Shamrock Rovers, 3-1 yesterday to complete a very satisfactory few days in Ireland. However, the presence of the likes of Hoyte, Randall etc continues to baffle me. They will never be Arsenal first-team players, so get rid.
Also on show in Dublin, and in goalscoring form, were Henri Lansbury and Jay Emmanuel-Thomas. Following impressive first-team pre-season campaigns they can consider themselves unfortunate not to have a first-team squad number. Instead they both look set for loan spells once again. Emmanuel-Thomas is likely to return to Doncaster, where he did well last Autumn, and Lansbury is apparently off to Swansea. I don't see the value for either player in these moves, other than to play somewhere. With both of them having been successful in the Championship last season I would have liked to see them loaned to Premier League clubs to prove whether or not they are capable where it matters. It worked well for Jack Wilshere, after all.
With the weather here improving after last nights horrible storms I might get some cricket in this afternoon! Fingers crossed there is no more rain. I'll post some more tomorrow, when we might be celebrating the arrival of a new defender. Who knows, there might be some movement on the goalkeeper front too.