Alex Song needs to up his game significantly if he wants to be considered as a regular fixture for Barcelona.
Alex Song could provide a cure to Barcelona's ills to some extent—if the club deem he is surplus to requirements during this transfer window.
Song proved once again during Sunday night's game against Malaga that he is out of his depth in this Barca side. He's no Sergio Busquets, that's for sure.
In fact, he is as far removed from Busquets as could possibly be.
When Song takes up the central defensive midfield role the Catalan habitually patrols, Barcelona look a different team entirely.
Positionally, Song is often found wanting.
On three separate occasions during the match Sunday night, he stood either right next to or in the way of his colleagues.
Such schoolboy errors at this level of football are not acceptable.
When Song signed from Arsenal in August 2012, it was to provide healthy competition in Busquets' area of the pitch, yet he has failed spectacularly to make an impression.
Take Sunday night's performance by way of example. A performance score of just 35 from your main ball-winning midfielder is simply not good enough.
Although his passing was generally on point at a healthy 90 percent, where he should excel—in his defensive duty—he did not.
One interception, two successful tackles and only three headers won during the game are pretty derisory stats for a player in the "engine room" of the team.
The aging Roque Santa Cruz outpaced Song to the ball in the 68th minute and was allowed to get goal-side to create a chance.
Just a cursory flick of the leg was the Cameroonian's attempt at a tackle, which, fortunately for Barca, didn't result in an equaliser for their opponents.
If Gerardo Martino is going to rotate his squad this year and make much more intelligent use of his subs than his predecessor, then surely Javier Mascherano must be considered a better bet as Busquets' understudy.
The Argentine is hot-headed, yes, but what you see is what you get.
Central defensive midfielder by trade, his move back to his favoured position at club level could pay the same dividends for Barca as it has done for Argentina.
Tim Vickery of BBC Sport identifies Mascherano's qualities in the position.
Mascherano has a quick, accurate, crisp pass, reads the game well and is adept at taking sound decisions under pressure - perfect for a team that seeks to defend high and build from the back.
Barcelona push up so much that Mascherano's lack of height is not a major problem. But he is too short to play at centre-back for a team that defends in its own penalty area.
It is just conceivable that Argentina coach Alejandro Sabella might deploy him in a back three. Much more probable, though, is that for his country he will continue to operate in his natural holding role, as he did to such good effect in Rome last Wednesday.
Mascherano was outstanding as Argentina, without Messi, beat Italy 2-1. He organised those around him, cleared up the danger and knitted the side together with his passing.
It's nonsense that someone of such natural talent in the position is being used elsewhere, to plug a hole as it were.
If Barcelona can recoup anywhere close to the £15 million they paid Arsenal for Song's services, they should certainly consider moving him on in this window.
That extra cash potentially sees Barcelona's purchase of a much-needed natural centre-back which then allows Martino the luxury of alternating Mascherano and Busquets in the centre of the park.
It's a win-win situation.
Song has never really settled at Barca, and indeed, as Jamie Sanderson of Metro reported back in April, the player hasn't enjoyed his time in Catalonia either.
If a deal can be reached for him to leave, it makes perfect sense all round...doesn't it?