Former Arsenal defender wanted to leave sooner

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Former Arsenal defender Sebastien Squillaci has admitted he would have preferred to have left the Emirates a year earlier than he eventually did.

The France international moved to Bastia on a free contract over the summer after being released by Arsenal when his contract expired.

And the 33-year-old said he struggled in his first season in north London as he did not have any time to return to full fitness after appearing in the 2010 World Cup in South Africa.

Then after falling down the centre-back pecking order at Arsenal, Squillaci said he would have preferred to have moved on from the Gunners in summer 2012 but understands why he was kept at the club.

"When I joined Arsenal in summer 2010, I just came from the World Cup in South Africa and I didn't have any pre-season preparation," Squillaci said, quoted in L'Equipe.

"I was the number three centre defender, but (Thomas) Vermaelen got injured and I had to play.

"I had a good first two months, but in December it was very difficult. I was exhausted physically and I was not good.

"Training sessions when you don't play anymore? Sometimes it was difficult indeed, but it is my job.

"I could not go to training sessions without any enthusiasm. Your team-mates need strong opposition. I could not give up, even if I didn't always have a great state of mind.

"In summer 2012, the club could have made a good gesture to let me leave, but they didn't want. A club is just like a business, human being is not the top concern."

Despite his reservations at having to stay at a club where he was not happy, Squillaci knows he is in a privileged position as a footballer.

He added: "But I woke up every morning to go and play football, it was not going down the mine."

Squillaci's new club Bastia currently sit tenth in the French Ligue 1 after two wins from six games. 

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Sebastien Squillaci

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