Arsene Wenger will be doing Arsenal a disservice if he allows former star Alex Song to join Premier League rivals Manchester United or Tottenham.
The stricken star has been told he has no place in the Barcelona squad this season after failing to convince Luis Enrique of his ability. He is free to leave the Nou Camp just two summers after joining from the Gunners in a £15 million deal.
Although he has not played a lot of football in La Liga, Song should still be considered a potential signing for Arsenal. Sitting back and allowing him to join a rival Premier League club could prove to be a massive mistake.
With the transfer window entering its final two weeks, Arsenal are lacking quality in two places: defensive midfield and central defence. Wenger was assertive in his transfer business, getting it done well before the start of the season to the envy of Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal.
However, the defensive midfield role requires a new body as doubts continue to remain over Abou Diaby's long-term fitness. The departure of Thomas Vermaelen also leaves Wenger short of cover for Laurent Koscielny and Per Mertesacker.
Song, 26, is equally adept at playing both roles. Although lacking discipline at times, Song would only need to be third or fourth choice at centre-back. He would also provide excellent cover for the back line when playing in midfield.
As shown in his last season at Arsenal, Song is a tough tackler, but can also pick a pass with the best of them. He offers creativity on the ball, which is exactly what Wenger likes in his players. Song provided 11 assists for his teammates during his final season, which is more than Mesut Ozil's tally of nine for last season.
An Arsenal education
Having been brought through the youth ranks at London Colney, Song would waltz straight into the Arsenal dressing room as if he had never left. Song was a key player alongside Robin van Persie in the 2011/12 season and is still held in high regard on the Emirates terraces.
With over 100 appearances in the Premier League, he would require no time to adapt to the physicality on the English game. It is hard to imagine training with the likes of Xavi and Andres Iniesta has made him anything but a better player over the last two years.
As Barcelona are desperate to offload the Cameroon international, Arsenal have the option to take him back permanently for significantly less than they sold him for at £8 million, or even take him on loan for the season, making it a risk-free acquisition.
Compared to other targets such as William Carvalho (£24m) and Kostas Manolas (£11m) , he would provide the best value for money and, with Premier League and Arsenal experience, come with the least risk.
Letting him join a rival
Both Manchester United and Tottenham are rumoured to be interested in signing Song and it is easy to see why.
Van Gaal is desperate for versatility in his squad and Song could provide quality in both defence and midfield. Song would surely prefer to return to north London rather than Old Trafford and asserting his superiority in the transfer window would do Wenger plenty of favours. Keeping Manchester United down by making sure quality players do not join them is something that makes the signing of Song worthwhile in itself.
Similarly, Mauricio Pochettino knows he can add a high quality player to his squad for a bargain fee. Like Manchester United, Wenger would be wise to make sure the local rivals stay suppressed.