Hello again Gooners!
There’s been so much written about Alex Song’s transfer to Barcelona that I feel compelled to join the party! Except it’s not so much of a party. It’s hardly a celebration of what he contributed to the team’s fortunes, although I have seen a writer or two who would beg to differ. Talking to various football fans, I’d say valuations of the player vary from £5m to £20m. So for us to get £15m seems a bit of coup, bearing that in mind.
There’s been a lot of talk about Song’s questionable attitude. We’ll never know the truth, but there’s two sides to every story. I heard that Cesc Fabregas refused to play for us in friendly games prior to his transfer away to Barcelona. I didn’t believe that at all. Like Song, he was on a long-term contract and in no position to call the shots. If he did that, he could be fined by the club and end up being parked in the reserves. I understand that Cesc had a gentleman’s agreement with Arsene Wenger that he could leave if and when Barca came calling, so when it happened Le Boss felt he had to let him leave.
With Song, it’s been completely different. Even on a good day on the pitch, he came across as lazy and nonchalant. He could never match the work-rate of Cesc, let alone be able to take a game by the scruff of the neck like the Spanish maestro. If Song still harbours delusions of playmaking grandeur, his move to Barca should dispel that myth immediately. There he will be arguably the poorest passer of a ball in the team! At Arsenal, of the first-team regulars, only Mikel Arteta was head and shoulders above him in that department. However, Song’s positional play was sound, his versatility useful, so in some senses he will be missed. Not greatly, but missed all the same.
I had to laugh when I read a blog written by Jamie Sanderson claiming that Darren Dein had made millions ripping ‘apart the heartbeat of the club’s squad’. I really enjoy Jamie’s writing and his informed views, but this line struck me as a tad hyperbolic! If sleepy Song was turning up late to training and so on, as has been claimed, then you’d have to say he’d become so laid back that he was horizontal. In anyone’s terminology that would make him deadwood. As I said, a Song ‘on song’ would be a useful but uninspiring plank on the good ship Arsenal, to my mind. An ‘off key’ Song had to be offloaded before he got the rest of the team singing out of tune.
I’m not expecting Song to be a great success at Barca, at all. I said the same about Alex Hleb, and look what happened to him.