Alex Song is the latest player to dominate Arsenal transfer news, and his much speculated move to Barcelona could possibly be completed within the next few days.
Though the most high profile departure from the Emirates this summer has been that of Robin van Persie, Alex Song’s potential exit may well prove to be even more damaging to the club.
Admittedly, van Persie’s contribution last season was huge; his impressive tally of 30 Premier League goals speaks for itself. But Song’s wider range of duties means that his absence would have more of an impact on the team, in terms of both balance and quality.
This article takes a deeper look at what Song brings to the team and what his sale will mean for Arsenal both on the field and off it.
Song’s greatest attribute is his defensive mentality.
The Cameroonian does a stellar job of guarding the Arsenal back four, enabling the more attacking-minded players to express themselves and implement their sophisticated passing game.
Apart from Song, there is no other player at the club with the necessary credentials to perform this job to the required standard. Emmanuel Frimpong operates in the same position but his rawness and inexperience make him an inferior replacement, and the same can be said for Francis Coquelin.
They may be able to step up to the plate in a few years time, but Song is head and shoulders above them both in terms of current ability; thus his sale will leave the side vulnerable at the back.
This is one of Song’s more unsung roles within the team.
Despite his defensive nature, the midfielder possesses great vision and passing prowess. Such traits enable him to pose a real threat from deep, and it was his pinpoint accuracy that saw him pick out Robin van Persie for the Dutchman’s exquisite volleys against Liverpool and Everton last term.
Such passing saw Song finish as the club’s leading provider, with 14 assists in all competitions—putting him one ahead of van Persie.
Though new signings Santi Cazorla and Lukas Podolski will add creativity to the squad, their tendency to operate higher up the pitch means the club will be left without the deep-lying playmaker that Song so often turned out to be.
Though Song is only 24, his seven-year tenure at Arsenal makes him one of the side’s longest serving players.
This familiarity with the club is a vital asset, especially given the recent influx of personnel that has seen no less than ten new faces arrive at the Emirates since last summer alone.
Such times of upheaval can prove difficult without the help of the team’s more senior players, whose knowledge of the club will help the new signings make a smoother transition into their new surroundings.
Without Song, Arsenal are left rather short of such influential figures. As a result, the new arrivals may struggle to settle in, limiting the extent of their positive effects on the team.
Though Song’s departure will represent yet another healthy profit for the club, questions remain as to whether or not the fee is high enough.
The rumoured sum of £15 million is a decent enough amount, but with clubs like Manchester City and Paris Saint Germain driving inflation in football to unprecedented heights, shouldn't the Gunners be holding out for a slightly greater sum?
A figure nearer the £20 million mark would seem more reflective of a player of Song’s talents, given the current financial state of the modern game.
Nonetheless, it remains a considerable price. It provides the club with an injection of funds, which combined with the revenue from van Persie’s sale, will greatly ease the burden of the club’s outstanding stadium loan or perhaps facilitate further purchases for Arsene Wenger.
While the transfer remains unconfirmed, Wenger’s recent hints suggest that Alex Song could well be following Robin van Persie out of the Emirates.
Props must go to Song, who has reiterated his happiness at the club, meaning if he does leave it will be in far less acrimonious circumstances than van Persie’s desertion. Besides, one can hardly blame Song, or anyone for that matter, from wanting to play for arguably the greatest club side of this generation.
Nonetheless, should his move to Barcelona come to fruition, it will be a severely harmful blow to Arsenal’s chances of success in the upcoming campaign.
There will of course be sufficient funds to sign a replacement, though time is quickly running out if Wenger wishes to conclude a deal before the summer transfer window slams shut.
Either way, it would take another of the Frenchman’s inspired purchases to adequately compensate for the loss of such a key player in the Arsenal side.
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