Arsenal Transfer Rumors: Gunners Can't Afford to Lose Alex Song

Tim Keeney@@t_keenContributor IAugust 14, 2012

SO KON PO, HONG KONG - JULY 29:  Alex Song of Arsenal FC in action during the pre-season Asian Tour friendly match between Kitchee FC and Arsenal at Hong Kong Stadium on July 29, 2012 in Hong Kong.  (Photo by Victor Fraile/Getty Images)
Victor Fraile/Getty Images

While all of the attention from Arsenal is likely directed towards Robin van Persie as the transfer window draws to a close, Arsene Wenger must focus on keeping Alex Song.

The idea of Song leaving may seem far-fetched to most Gunner fans, but according to Malaga goalkeeper—and Song's teammate with Cameroon—Carlos Kameni, his departure might come sooner than expected (via goal.com):

The Blaugrana have been strongly linked with a move for the Cameroon international following Seydou Keita's move to Chinese Super League side Dalian Aerbin earlier this summer.

Song's international team-mate (Kameni) thinks the 24-year-old would be a smart acquisition for the Liga runners-up, and has said that Song has told him he wants to join Tito Vilanova's side. 

Like always, take this with a grain of salt, but there's no denying Song would replace Keita quite well (although Keita is more of a center mid while Song is a defensive mid) and Barcelona is a squad that could pay a steep price for whoever it wants. 

Nonetheless, Arsenal needs to hang on to the 24-year-old Cameroon star. 

Not only was Song, who played in 34 Premier League games last season, solid—albeit inconsistent—when he stayed back in defense, as evidenced by his 2.9 tackles and 1.2 clearances per game, but he proved to be a world-class distributor, as well. 

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He racked up 11 assists (most on the team) as he completed 84 percent of his passes, 1.4 key passes and 3.3 accurate long balls per contest. 

Even if he wasn't one of the best young defensive midfielders in the world, Arsenal would still have to keep Song strictly for depth, as the midfield—especially midfielders who can drop back with ease—is beyond thin.

Arsenal have plenty of attacking talent, for now. Robin van Persie is still a Gunner, and he was easily the most productive goal-scorer in the Premiership last season. Throw in guys like Theo Walcott, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Gervinho and newly-acquired Lukas Podolski and there's no question Wenger's squad will be able to put the ball in the back of the net.

The defense, however, which was only seventh-best in goals allowed (despite finishing third on the table), is far from perfect. Removing Alex Song would not only make that problem even worse, it would also remove the engine that makes Arsenal's attack go. 

If Arsenal is able to lure Yann M'Vila, then depth becomes a different story, but as it stands now, losing Song would simply create too many holes. 

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