In a couple of weeks Alex Song will be a distant memory for Arsenal. Sure, he was a lively spark for the Gunners on the pitch, but he wasn’t exactly irreplaceable either.
On Sunday, FC Barcelona announced the official £15 million transfer of Arsenal midfielder Song (via Twitter). According to ESPN, Song’s financial terms include a five-year length of contract with an £80 million buyout.
In the wake of Song’s departure, the Gunners are losing a fixture of their midfield over the past four years. While Song was consistently there, he wasn’t always productive. He played with a high energy that some might describe as recklessness and often left his team out to dry on defense.
He did exhibit sound technical ability in a general sense, but never truly stood out particularly in any one area.
Also, according to a report from the Mirror, he was beginning to upset manager Arsene Wenger to the point that he drove him to facilitate this transfer. Song was allegedly unmotivated and frequently late for team meetings.
Additionally, Wenger and the Gunners won’t lose any sleep over this move as they are honing in on Turkish midfielder Nuri Sahin. They’ve been pursuing Sahin for weeks and likely made the call to move Song once they felt comfortable with their chances of locking him in.
Reporting from ESPN indicates that the Gunners are close to locking in Sahin on a one-year loan as a stop-gap in their midfield.
In the grand scheme of things, Song was more of a persona than he was an effective footballer. His utility was exceeded by the hassle of keeping him around which led to this split, although some of his assists came at key moments for the Gunners last season.
If Arsenal's opening match draw against Sunderland is a sign of things to come, they’ll need to find someone else who is capable of creating scores for their teammates in Song’s absence.
Barca, on the other hand, have overpaid for the persona of Song. He’ll more than likely play behind the already competent midfield they have in place at the Camp Nou.
Song’s departure shouldn’t cause panic, but you should approach the immediate future with a “wait and see” perspective.