Barcelona Transfer News: Alex Song's Defensive Ability Will Determine Value
Barcelona scored 114 goals in La Liga play last year, and they didn't need more firepower on that end of the pitch, but the rich got richer on Saturday.
According to an Associated Press report (per nbcsports.com) on Saturday, Blaugrana is set to add Cameroonian midfielder Alex Song:
Cameroon midfielder Alex Song is set to sign with Barcelona after Arsenal agreed on Saturday to sell him, one day after Robin van Persie left the Premier League club.
The report states that the transfer cost Barcelona £19 million and that "Song will sign a five-year contract after he travels to Spain to agree personal terms and undergo a medical examination."
Adding Song is interesting. Barcelona's midfield is already skilled with the likes of Andres Iniesta, Cesc Fabregas and Xavi Hernandez, and their team doesn't lack class on the offensive end.
Offensive skill is mostly what Song is known for, despite his position in the holding portion of the central midfield. He is capable of playing multiple positions, including defense, but anyone familiar with Song's game is aware of how he plays.
The 6'0'', 24-year-old midfielder scored seven goals in 138 appearances with Arsenal. He often plays from a defensive position, but he tends to drift into the attack more often than you would like.
For this signing to be successful, Barcelona need him to stay home. They're already among the best passing teams in the world. He needs to add a defensive presence in the midfield, and help Barcelona maintain their league-low 29 goals against from last year.
Barca did sign Jordi Alba away from Valencia this offseason, but you can never have enough defense when you're competing against the likes of Real Madrid for the La Liga crown.
In an ideal scenario, Song's presence solidifies the Barcelona midfield. He has the size, strength and smarts you want in a defensive midfielder, but his mentality needs to grow into the position more as he gets older.
Which signing makes more sense?
It's not as though he isn't capable of it. He's an excellent passer, and he plays with an edgy physicality on the pitch. He shows flashes of brilliant defensive play, but, at times, the offensive side of the field looks too inviting to this budding talent.
Song has the experience necessary to succeed in La Liga. He's familiar with a rigorous schedule from his days in the English Premier League, and he has 40 appearances with Cameroon's national team, as well.
That experience, and his skill, should translate directly to success in his new home. It all comes down to what kind of player he wants to be.
Arsenal needed Song's presence on the attack. Barcelona have more than enough to sustain that end of the field. Song must become a stay-at-home player and become more choosy about when he attacks the net with the Blaugrana.
If he can, he's money well spent.
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