Arsenal Transfer News: Why the Gunners Must Keep Alex Song

Nick AkermanFeatured ColumnistJuly 31, 2012

SO KON PO, HONG KONG - JULY 29:  Alex Song of Arsenal FC reacts during the pre-season Asian Tour friendly match between Kitchee FC and Arsenal at Hong Kong Stadium on July 29, 2012 in Hong Kong.  (Photo by Victor Fraile/Getty Images)
Victor Fraile/Getty Images

As the Robin van Persie saga continues to roll on, Arsenal are now facing the prospect of losing Alexander Song.

Reports suggest Barcelona are prepping a bid for the Cameroonian midfielder (via The Daily Mail). This is worrying news for the club, especially as Song performed excellently last season.

In Lukas Podolski and Olivier Giroud, Arsene Wenger already has enough firepower to soften van Persie's departure. If Song was to leave, the same cannot be said for the team's midfield.

After a slow start to his Arsenal career, Song has finally shown his potential. With Cesc Fabregas and Samir Nasri leaving the club last summer, his role changed. No longer forced to sit back and mop up at all times, Song was given an opportunity to express himself.

Last season, he provided 11 assists and scored one goal in the Premier League. The first statistic is particularly important, as Robin van Persie slotted home from five of these chances (via ESPN).

Song created Arsenal's most memorable moments of the season, laying on superb passes for van Persie against Everton, and Thierry Henry against Leeds.

With quality players in front of him, Song has the chance to dictate. After the loss of key players, his ability to add grit to Arsenal's game is unique.

Abou Diaby has failed to remain fit, and Aaron Ramsey lacks the presence to impose himself defensively. The same can be said for Tomas Rosicky and Mikel Arteta; both useful on the ball, but typically Arsenal in their lack of physical prowess.

If Jack Wilshere returns on time, a partnership with Song will be vital for any success. Both players have the ability to play dynamically, cutting out chances and starting moves from the center of the pitch.

More importantly, Song made 34 appearances in the domestic championship last year. He remains a reliable figure amongst a squad that is consistently crippled with injuries.

Arsenal undoubtedly face a battle to keep the midfielder, especially if Barcelona lodge a formal bid. Song's departure will have more of an impact than the loss of van Persie, leaving the club's midfield thinner than ever.

Players like Song are needed for superstars like van Persie to excel. Without him, Wenger's men will have a mohawk shaped chasm to fill at the Emirates Stadium.