Samir Nasri, Robin Van Persie, Cesc Fabregas, Gael Clichy, Mathieu Flamini. What do all these players have in common?
They all developed into top players under Arsene Wenger, and they all ditched his Arsenal team out of frustration. Alex Song may well be the latest addition to this growing list of world stars that get tired of waiting for trophies to land on their doorstep.
Each individual may have left the club believing the quality around them was lacking, but imagine if they had all had the nerve to stick it out? Perhaps the Manchester clubs wouldn’t have such a monopoly on the Premier League.
The Guardian reported yesterday that Alex Song is keeping his options open, willing to listen to approaches from the mighty Barcelona. You can’t help but sigh at the idea of yet another of Wenger’s prodigies slip through his fingers, moving to one of Europe’s powerhouses after he and his coaching team have put all the hard work in.
And today, the Spanish press have claimed Song has agreed personal terms with Barcelona, despite no formal offer having been tabled. It seems unlikely that this is true, however. Wenger’s irritation at Barcelona’s interest means he would never allow Song to begin speaking with Tito before a big bid was received. Barcelona could be tapping up the midfielder, but I hardly think that, if they were, it would somehow get leaked to the Spanish media.
Nevertheless, the growing rumours for this story make its eventuality all the more possible. The signing of Nuri Sahin from Real Madrid would hardly fill the gap that Song would leave; as well as making more tackles than any other Arsenal player last season, he also made the most assists. His growing influence on the Arsenal team began to gain national recognition towards the back end of last season after the sight of Song, slicing open the opposition defence to feed a goal-hungry RVP, became a regular sight on MOTD.
In the case of Barcelona, can anyone be blamed for considering the switch? Jumping ship for Man City is a different ball game, but the world’s best team? It is difficult to say no. Of course, this does not mean that the deal will go ahead; Wenger, historically, is able to convince his players to hold on at least 6 months after their first transfer request, before allowing them to leave. This time round, he could well prove to his want-away player that life in North London could be sweet after all. With the exciting Cazorla joining the club, and with Juventus and Man City both getting cold feet over RVP, who knows what Arsenal can achieve this season.
Loyalty is a character trait scarce in world football at the moment. Alex Song, surely a future Arsenal captain, is faced with a tough decision indeed.
Alex Keble is the editor of www.thechalkboard.org.uk, a website that gives in-depth tactical analysis of the weekend’s football action, offering match reports with statistics, diagrams, and intellectual insight into the modern game. Follow @ak_chalkboard.Like what the TT have on offer? Sign up for more notifications!