Play That Funky Music, Wenger: Why Alex's Song Must Never Grow Old at Arsenal
Arsenal's misery continued as they suffered a 2-1 defeat at the hands of arch rivals Tottenham in the North London derby at White Hart Lane.
It has been a tumultuous few months for Arsene Wenger and his men. The loss signified the Gunners' fourth of the season and the evident shift in domination throughout North London and potentially, World Football itself.
However, Arsenal's poor start to 2011-12 has intensified the problems at the Emirates with lacklustre performances, including a historic 8-2 thrashing by reigning English Premier League champions Manchester United.
Furthermore, constant injuries and suspensions are also playing a major factor in the Gunners' demise. Not to mention that there is still the lingering burden of six successive seasons without silverware.
However, that conundrum appears minuscule with the problems at hand in North London.
Whilst the current appears bleak for the Arsenal faithful, the future—which has always seemed bright for Arsene Wenger and his squad—is growing increasingly dark with the knowledge that captain Robin van Persie, English international Theo Walcott, and renowned defensive midfielder Alexandre Song will be entering their final year of their Arsenal contract next Summer.
Wenger is well aware of the devastation of contracts. Just this summer the Frenchman was forced to offload Samir Nasri as the 24-year-old star refused to extend his contract with the Gunners' as he entered his final year of it.
Nasri had enjoyed a strong 2010-11 with 46 appearances and 15 goals. He then felt the desire to command higher wages, which Wenger simply could not produce particularly compared to Manchester City.
However, the Arsenal manager has learnt well and has started well ahead of time to secure the high-calibre trio. Unfortunately for Wenger, it is troubled financial time at the Emirates with Arsenal's total salary bill rising 12 percent.
Wenger will need to significantly raise the wages of the trio in order to prize off the big-money giants. Manchester City has already declared their interest to swoop for van Persie, whilst Walcott will inevitably attract attention throughout Europe.
Wenger should be able to extend at least one of the three contracts, with Alexandre Song emerging as the most likely, and the most vital one.
The quietly spoken midfielder has become the heart and soul of the Arsenal midfield in recent years with his tenacious, efficient and energetic displays. Song was one of the Gunners' best during the loss to Tottenham despite being forced to play in the unfamiliar central defence due to the mass injury toll.
With his oddly-dyed hair and nonsense approach, the 24-year-old has never truly received the sufficient praise and acclaim he deserves for his efforts at Arsenal. The Cameroon midfielder arrived on loan to Arsenal from French Ligue 2 side Bastia during the 2005-06 season after impressing Wenger during the preseason.
Song was then signed permanently in the summer of 2006 for £1 million and became a fringe player, regularly impressing in Cup matches.
Following departures of Mathieu Flamini and Gilberto Silva in the Summer of 2008, the midfielder became an integral part of the Arsenal first team in 2008-09, a campaign in which Song endured much criticism during his 48 appearances.
However, the following season the Cameroonian developed as one of World Football's best defensive midfielders as Song recorded a superb campaign, consistently showing great strength and physicality alongside his ability to enable his attackers to thrive.
Since then, Song has maintained his form and calibre with constant strong and lively performances. He always works to his full extent, and unlike many of his peers, possesses phenomenal consistency.
It will be a huge loss to lose any of the aforementioned trio, but Song's energy and commitment cannot be faulted. Rarely does the media produce reports of the former SC Bastia man with unhappy or disgruntled knowledge, whilst the assurance he provides to the Arsenal squad is invaluable.
There is simply no denying Arsene Wenger must ensure this Song never grows old at the Emirates because the fans cannot get enough of this tune.
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