Remember when Alex Song was a talented, promising, versatile midfielder? In order for that to be the case again, he needs to move away from Barcelona.
The Telegraph's Matt Law reported that the Cameroonian midfielder could be offloaded to one of any number of Premier League clubs in a free loan deal:
Barcelona have made former Arsenal midfielder Alex Song available on a free loan.
Song ideally wants to return to the Premier League after being told to find a new club by Barca, despite being targeted by Galatasaray and clubs in Italy.
Law added that Song could be had for £8 million but that the loan deal is more enticing for potential suitors.
The move would make sense considering both his experience in the Premier League and the fact he doesn't have a place in the Barcelona squad. During an interview with beIN Sport in March, Song said that he envisions heading back to the Premier League down the road, via Sky Sports.
"If I leave Barcelona, it will be to return to the Premier League," he revealed. "I will return to England one day, that's for sure."
Of course, he could choose to remain at the club, where he could win trophies and make a few sporadic appearances. Song wouldn't be the first player to do that, nor would he be the last. You wouldn't begrudge somebody for wanting to remain with one of the biggest clubs in the world. Almost anything that follows is a step down.
From a strictly performance-based perspective, Song can't stay at Barcelona and become the best version of himself.
While at times confounding, Song was a very good box-to-box midfielder at Arsenal. He never fit into the Patrick Vieira role, but over time, he learned how to diversify his game and become a threat in the attack.
Song perfected the pass over the top of the defense to the feet of Robin van Persie.
When looking at clubs such as Manchester United, Liverpool and Everton, you could see Song slotting into the starting lineup.
Liverpool need to build as big a squad as necessary to remain competitive in both the Premier League and Champions League. Central midfield remains a problem for United. Ander Herrera is a good start, but he's not going to fill the void all by himself.
After the injury to Ross Barkley, Everton could use another central midfielder who helps facilitate the attack.
Even Arsenal could probably use the 26-year-old. How many people—myself included—doubted the Mathieu Flamini move? Song could provide much-needed depth to avoid having the Gunners break down physically by the end of the season.
Admittedly, Song's stock is at a nadir between his rough time at the Nou Camp and a disastrous World Cup. He was sent off in Cameroon's second match of the group stage against Croatia. ESPN FC's John Brewin thought Song was the worst player in Brazil:
The prospect of signing Song on a loan is a risk, but some of that risk would be offset by getting him for free. Without much of a financial investment, there's less that can blow up in a club's face.
It's easy to cast Song aside based on his two years in Spain. He looked lost at Barcelona and nothing like the player he was from Arsenal. His biggest contribution was that time he thought Carles Puyol was handing him the league trophy only to understand too late that the centre-back had picked out Eric Abidal.
But who couldn't see that rough stint coming?
When the deal was first announced, many were caught off guard, both because Barca had signaled little interest in signing him and the fact he didn't immediately fill any sort of void in the squad. Central midfielder hasn't been an area of concern for Barcelona for some time.
Moving him to centre-back also proved a bit of a disaster as he failed to seamlessly transition to defense as Javier Mascherano did.
By going to the Premier League, Song would be getting back into a comfort zone. Even if he doesn't play for Arsenal again, he at least knows the lay of the land in England. And he'd more than likely slot into midfield rather than be thrown in defense again.
Not every player is made for Barcelona. Song couldn't turn down the opportunity, though, and now that he's been there for a few years, both he and the club should recognize that it's not gonna work out.
The best move for the two parties is saying goodbye.