Arsenal Transfer Rumors: Moving Alex Song Would Be Risky Move by Gunners
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger watched as Alex Song developed in to a key piece of the Gunners midfield over the past handful of seasons. Moving him during the current transfer window is a risk that's not worth taking for the veteran boss.
Barcelona has shown interest in the 24-year-old defensive midfielder, but Wenger hasn't been willing to budge off his high asking price of £15 million, according to Wayne Veysey of Goal.com. No agreement appears imminent at this point.
Song has made more than 200 appearances for Arsenal since first heading to Emirates on loan in 2005. During that time he transformed himself in to one of the most reliable defensive midfielders in the Premier League and a fixture in the starting lineup.
There have been concerns that he's shown more of an offensive flair over the past season, but it's something that was more out of necessity than anything else. Arsenal needed more players to create opportunities in the attacking third, and he was just playing his part.
Robin van Persie, whose own transfer drama continues to roll on, was forced to carry the load up front for a vast majority of the campaign. Song's forays moving forward were a product of trying to give the dynamic striker some support.
Van Persie's future remains unclear as Arsenal rightfully refuses to accept any low-ball offers, but Wenger has done a nice job of adding depth to the squad during the offseason.
Santi Cazorla, Olivier Giroud and Lukas Podolski have all been added to provide more attacking punch regardless of the ultimate decision concerning Van Persie.
What should Arsenal do with Song?
Once that trio of players eventually gets settled in at Emirates, it should allow Song to settle back in to his normal defense-first role. He's a key piece of the Arsenal formation in that role, so it's no surprise Wenger values him highly.
The other factor is a lack of an obvious replacement. The Gunners don't have anybody on the roster with the track record or experience of Song who would be able to step in to minimize the impact of letting him go to Barcelona.
A player like Francis Coquelin has the potential to fill the spot eventually, but he still needs time to develop before he's prepared for a crucial role like Song currently plays.
The fact an elite club like Barcelona has interest in Song should tell the Gunners everything they need to know. He's a coveted player, but also an important piece of the puzzle for Arsenal.
Cashing in might become a wise move at some point, just not right now.
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