Arsenal Transfer News: Arsene Wenger Hints at Alex Song Sale

James Dudko@@JamesDudkoFeatured ColumnistAugust 17, 2012

LONDON, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 24:  Alex Song of Arsenal celebrates his goal with team mate Bacary Sagna during the Barclays Premier League match between Arsenal and Bolton Wanderers at Emirates Stadium on September 24, 2011 in London, England.  (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images)
Clive Mason/Getty Images

Arsenal fans should brace themselves for the exit of another high-profile star, as Arsene Wenger has hinted that Alex Song could be sold, according to reports from The Independent.

The resourceful Cameroonian midfielder has emerged as a prime transfer target of La Liga giants Barcelona. On a day when Robin van Persie's sale to Manchester United has been officially confirmed by, Wenger has hardly assuaged fans' fears that Song could be next to go.

His potential loss could even be felt more acutely than Van Persie's cynical defection. Song has gone from very raw potential to established first-team player during the last four seasons.

Many see him as a vital cog in Arsenal's team structure. Initially viewed only as rough and combative, Song has steadily proved his worth as a key creative outlet.

His clever and incisive passing supplied a number of vital goals for Van Persie and demonstrated his transformation into a complete, quality midfielder last season. However, there were still lapses in some parts of Song's game, specifically in defensive areas.

While his forays forward were exciting and productive, Song was frequently culpable when it came to the defensive aspects of his role. As the ostensible midfield anchor for the Gunners, Song was caught out of position far too often and wasn't always the quickest to track back and support the defense.

In many ways, these issues strike at the enigma surrounding Song's best role in the team. His defensive qualities are not as refined as his attacking instincts, yet his natural strength seems to make him the ideal candidate to shield a back four.

Perhaps that might be enough to justify taking the reported £15 million Barca could offer for Song.

The real issue may be whether Arsenal could justify letting another star leave with the start of the new season so close. Certainly the club would be able to command maximum value for a 24-year-old with three years left on his existing contract.

However, unlike in the case of Van Persie, no obvious replacements for Song have been recruited. In The Independent's report, Wenger rightly points to the numbers he has in midfield, and perhaps Abou Diaby or Francis Coquelin could fill the void Song's departure would create.

However, permitting the sale of Song on the heels of the Van Persie deal would provide even more ammunition for those who question Arsenal's ambition.