Tuesday, 21 August 2012

Arsenal Sell Alex Song To Barcelona

The news emerged yesterday that the sale of Alex Song from Arsenal to Barcelona had been finalised. He has joined Barcelona for a fee in the region of £15 million if the quoted figures are to be believed. His departure is hardly as high profile as that of Robin van Persie, but he was voted the second best player at the club by Arsenal fans last season.

I have never been overly impressed with Song, and I think he was over rated at times. I have no doubt that he will see this move as a huge boost for his career, but I can't see him making an impression at Barcelona. His style bordered on lethargic at times, and I was never impressed with his passing skills either.

He may have led the way with assists among Arsenal's midfielders last season, but that was only after the sale of Cesc Fabregas. Song was very fond of lofting the ball over opposition defences last season, and van Persie was on hand to finish off on quite a few occasions. Many times though he just aimlessly played those passes far too long, and they ended up harmless going out of play.

Song was meant to play the defensive role in the Arsenal midfield, but I felt he left the defence exposed far too often. Maybe his instructions were to get further forward, but I doubt it. He will have to work an awful lot harder if he is to be a success at his new club.

Arsenal have sold many players to Barcelona since Arsene Wenger became Arsenal manager, and very few of them have made the grade there. Cesc has fitted in nicely, but he grew up as part of the club and knows what is expected of him. Some might say Thierry Henry did well there, but there is no doubt that he played the best football of his career at Arsenal.

The list of players who failed to make a real impact when moving from Arsenal to Barcelona is a long one. Alex Hleb was probably the biggest flop of all, but Emmanuel Perit, Marc Overnars and Giovanni van Bronkhurst hardly covered themselves in glory either. I would be very surprised if Song is anything other than a failure at Barcelona.

I have read that Song had become disruptive at Arsenal, and he wanted to leave as soon as he knew Barcelona were interested. Arsenal can't afford to have players who aren't committed to the cause in their squad, and those who want to leave should be sold if the price is right. At least Song had the decency to keep his mouth shut before the move took place.

I suppose Song may have been searching for a new challenge, or maybe to live in a warmer climate. I can't help feeling that he will regret the decision to turn his back on the manager who made him the player he is today. I also can't help feeling he will be left searching for the remains of a once promising career in a year or two.

There is no doubt that the loss of van Persie was a blow to Arsenal, ad players of his quality are few and far between. The loss of Song is no such thing, and Arsenal should find it relative easy to replace him with a better player before too long. Whether they decide to replace him with a similar style of player or not is another question, and only Wenger knows the answer.

With the transfer window closing in only 10 days there isn't an awful lot of time to add to the squad available to Wenger. The three additions so far have been very welcome, but the players most fans wanted to see leave are still at the club. Arsenal have actually made a profit on their dealings so far this summer yet again, and it's something which has to be redressed.

There is no doubt that the return from injury of both Bacary Sagna and Jack Wilshere will strengthen the team. Sagna could be back by the time the Champions League groups kick off, but Wilshere will take longer. He will have to be eased slowly back into action, as he has suffered so many set backs in his recovery already.

It still looks highly likely that Nuri Sahin will arrive on loan from Real Madrid, and it's a move I hope to see happen. The team cannot depend on a midfield that contains Abu Diaby and Tomas Rosicky, as both of them are so injury prone. If both of them are out at the same time before Wilshere returns fully it will leave the manager with very few choices.

During my three trips to Arsenal last season the two most popular songs were probably in praise of both van Persie and Song. It looks like the choice of songs at the Emirates and on away trips will need a little bit of adjusting. I have no doubt new heroes will be found to sing about though.

Finally for today don't forget to join my Fantasy Premier league for the new season with prizes for the top three teams. To join up just go to the site and use the code 17031-6252 to join my league when your team is set up. If you were in my league last season you should automatically be given a choice to rejoin it once your team is set up. There are over 600 teams in my league at the moment, and I'm hoping to match last season's total of over 1,000 teams.

I'm also running my predictions league again, and it's open to anyone who wants to join too. It's an easy game to play with points awarded for predicting the outcomes of every Premier League game. To sign up just go to the site , http://predictor.talksport.co.uk/landing.htm and use the code FD047-YLG to join my league once you have registered.

See you tomorrow.

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