So it seems as if Alex Song is the latest man to jump on a diamond encrusted private jet out of Arsenal and into La Masia, obviously Cesc's postcards from Barcelona made the whole place seem too tempting, along with Gerard Pique saying that if he comes he might let him have a go on Shakira. With both of those things in mind, you can't really blame him for wanting to up sticks.
What with Van Persie almost certainly on his way out too, I can already hear the cries of "Wenger Out!" hurtling forth from The Emirates, amid fears that he may do a last minute panic buy and go in for another defender with the turning circle of an articulated lorry (Oh Mertesacker, we love you really). However, the apparent willingness with which Arsenal have allowed Barcelona to approach Song speaks volumes about the direction the club is heading in, and to my mind it's an entirely forward thinking move.
When Song first broke into the team there was the idea that he might become the new Vieira, a hard working, tough tackling central midfielder who can provide defensive cover as well as some attacking guile. Essentially, exactly the sort of player that Arsenal have desperately, desperately needed for a long time. In fact, I'd say that Mathieu Flamini was probably our last prospective heir to that throne, and since then nobody has stepped up to the mark. When on loan at Charlton I remember thinking Song had the potential to be that kind of player, but over the years he seems to have developed into something else, more of a deep lying playmaker, albeit one who could put a ball on a sixpence for Robin Van Persie at the drop of a hat. Basically, a great player, but not the player that Arsenal need right now.
It can't be overstated. We need a central midfielder who is happy to sit back, shield the back four, be comfortable on the ball and maybe start a few fights every once in a while. Yann M'Vila is the name that keeps getting mentioned, but you get the feeling that Wenger would have gone in for him already if he really saw him as a viable option. Emmanuel Frimpong certainly is that kind of player, but it remains to be seen whether he'll progress into a very good footballer, or merely a twitter parody that we'll ship off to Sunderland in a few years time. Francis Coquelin is promising too, but maybe needs a loan move a la Jack Wilshere to Bolton before he's ready for serious first team consideration. I think Nigel De Jong would prove to be a shrewd purchase, surely not happy to warm the bench up at Man City he'd probably be available fairly cheaply and slot into the team well - Lord knows Arsenal loves a Dutchman. To be honest though, all this speculation is really just me trying to distract myself from the one crippling thought that enters my mind every time I have a concern about our midfield: that we should have locked Yaya Toure down when he was a kid.
So good luck Alex Song, send us a photo of Gaudi's cathedral and don't eat too much tapas. You were tremendous last season, but you're not who we need right now. Honestly, darling, it's not you, it's us.
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