With Alex Song set to sign a permanent deal with West Ham, we look at three reasons why Arsene Wenger should have hijacked the move to bring the Cameroonian back to Arsenal.
When Robin van Persie netted 30 goals for Arsenal in the 2011/12 season very little was made of the impact that both Alex Song and Theo Walcott had in his success. Whilst this was expected of Walcott as a winger, there aren’t many deep lying midfielders who have assisted 14 goals in a season.
In fact, a feature of van Persie’s goals became a defence splitting ball from Song that invariably ended up in the back of the net. There was also the classic goal against Borussia Dortmund in the Champions League where Song took on several players before finding the Dutchman’s head.
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Back to 2015, Arsenal don’t have a Van Persie style 30 goal-a-season man. But with the assists that Song can bring back in to the side, perhaps Olivier Giroud or Walcott himself could benefit and notch the extra goals that are so often the difference for Arsenal, as they fall short in their efforts.
This could be especially effective with Walcott, whose game relies on playing off the shoulder, using his pace to make room behind the defence for a shot on goal.
2. Squad Strengthening
Song operates in the part of the field where Arsenal have the least strength in depth. This was evident on Sunday, when Francis Coquelin was substituted to avoid being sent off. With Mikel Arteta not fully ready to return, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain came on and Santi Cazorla was pushed deep into a position that stifled his ability to trigger attacking moves.
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It could be argued too that Aaron Ramsey isn’t at his best in a deep central position and instead would be a better option further forward, if he was free to attack more and recapture the great goalscoring form he exhibited two seasons ago.
In turn, during his time at Arsenal, he averaged over 40 games a season and was rarely injured, a luxury that Wenger’s midfield could use. Jack Wilshere is the Gunners’ best player in that position but injury has reduced his appearances for the side to a premium and currently leaves the side with only three options in the defensive midfield region.
3. Business sense
Wenger is a notorious businessman and loves an astute buy. Despite having high wage demands of around £140,000-a-week, the club could probably resign him for less than the £15 million that they sold him for in August 2012.
Given his age and the fact that Barcelona haven’t played coy in expressing their desire to let the player leave the club, combined with his year on loan at West Ham, the Spanish giants have already reduced their own bargaining power. They also know that with two years to run on his contract, the price will only decrease over that period and that now is the optimum time to offload the defensive midfielder.
A look at the market will also tell you that similar players are hard to find, with Manchester United landing Morgan Schneiderlin and Juventus signing Sami Khedira. This leaves very few if any world class defensive midfielders available and certainly increases Song’s appeal.
Arsenal fans: Do you believe Wenger has let you down by not trying to bring Song back to the Emirates? Give us YOUR opinion in the comment box below!