Arsene Wenger looks set to break one of his own golden rules by paying a fee for an outfield player in his 30s after Seville confirmed that Arsenal have had a bid rejected for the 30-year-old French defender Sébastien Squillaci.
The Spanish club value Squillaci at £6.5m and although they have not accepted the offer from Arsenal they confirmed that they were in talks with the club. A statement from the club said: "Sébastien Squillaci's future is undecided. As was confirmed by sporting director Ramon Rodriguez at the airport in Porto, the club have received an offer from Arsenal. The player requested that he was not played in the match."
Squillaci asked his club to be left out of Wednesday night's Champions League qualifier against the Portuguese club Braga in order that he was not cup-tied for Arsenal. Seville described Arsenal's offer as "insufficient" although they noted the player's request to leave.
It is an intriguing move for Wenger who has rarely paid a fee for outfield players over the age of 30 in the last decade. In 1999 he bought the then-31-year-old Croatia international Davor Suker for around £500,000 from Real Madrid. Mikaël Silvestre joined from Manchester United in 2008 at the age of 31 for around £750,000. Sol Campbell, who re-signed for Arsenal last season at 35, came on a free transfer.
Wenger's biggest investment in a 30-something was Oleg Luzhny who cost £1.8m in 1999 from Dynamo Kiev as a 31-year-old. As a rule Wenger does not give existing players in their 30s contract extensions any longer than one year. It would be inconceivable that Squillaci, a member of France's World Cup squad, would agree to join for anything less than a three-year contract.
Wenger is badly short of candidates to play at centre-half with Silvestre, William Gallas and Campbell all having left this summer at the end of their contracts. Philippe Senderos has joined Fulham. In response Wenger has signed the French defender Laurent Koscielny from Lorient for £10m but he is still badly short of cover in that position. Johan Djourou is still doubtful after a long-term lay-off with a knee injury.
Arsenal's injury list
Johan Djourou (hamstring) May recover by end of the month.
Denilson (abdomen) Could return to face Blackpool tomorrow.
Emmanuel Frimpong (knee) Faces six to nine months on sidelines.
Aaron Ramsey (leg) Injured against Stoke in February, not expected back until November.
Samir Nasri (knee) Out for a month with knee complaint.
Alex Song (calf) Midfielder has not featured since April.
Nicklas Bendtner (groin) Yet to feature this season.