Song Moves From The Heart Of London To The Fringes Of Barcelona

The last couple of days have flown by in the build-up to Sunderland’s visit, the actual game, and the inevitable debates that take place in the aftermath of a game. During this period Arsenal also agreed a deal with Barcelona for the sale of Alex Song. It was a transfer that came out of the blue and was completed at express speed, at least by the recent standards of drawn out sagas that Gooners have experienced.

There are many different stories circulating in the media but few have provided any concrete sources. Some suggest that Song’s agent had been peddling the midfielder around Europe and wanted a bumper increase in his contract. Others have suggested that the player had attitude issues, was lazy, often arrived late for training, and tended to ignore instructions from the coaching staff. Presumably, the latter story has been leaked by the Gunners as it’s attributed to anonymous club sources.

I don’t normally believe unattributed quotes and unverifiable reports but there seems to be some truth in Song’s case. The most striking aspect of the whole deal has been the ease with which Wenger has sanctioned the transfer. The manager fought hard to keep Cesc, Nasri, and RvP. His comments before and after these players left showed he rated them very highly. I don’t think the same can be said about his reflections on the departure of Song.

In my opinion the key to this transfer was Wenger’s belief that the player can be replaced. Since he’s a very good man manager and cultivates excellent relationships, it can be assumed Arsene would have found a way to make things work with Song despite any attitude issues if he really felt it imperative to hold on to Song. Let’s not forget Arsenal had a strong position from the contract point of view.

At first glance this seems strange. Song was voted 2nd best player of the year by the fans in the annual poll. He picked up 11 assists in the League last season and formed a very effective partnership with Van Persie. Together the duo contributed 64 percent of Arsenal’s 74 Premiership goals. Why would Wenger sell his second best player without a fight when all efforts to hold on to the best failed?

There seem to be a number of factors involved. Firstly, there is the case of inconsistency on the part of Song. There is a myth in the Arsenalsphere that Song started neglecting his defensive duties and bombed forward too often. Many associate assists with a forward thinking approach but forget the fact that many of his key passes came from deep. The problem with Song was not that he became too attack oriented but that he simply wasn’t consistent enough when it came to defensive awareness and concentration. Over the last few years there have been numerous examples where Arsenal have conceded goals not because Song had gone forward but because he didn’t do what he was supposed to even when he’d stayed back.

In short, Song just did not read the game well defensively at a level of consistency needed if a side wishes to win the major titles.

That alone would not have been enough though. The second, and perhaps clinching, factor here is that Arsene knows there is a replacement available who is at least as good if not better. I’ll be very surprised if the Gunners don’t sign at least one more player in midfield.

Arsene could make a like-for-like change by getting someone like M’Vila in or he could bring a different player like Sahin into the squad and adapt to the loss of Song through tactical changes. In either case the key point is that Le Boss does not think it will be as tough to replace Song as it has been with the other big names who’ve moved on.

That doesn’t mean it will be easy. Song had a physical presence on the pitch. You could see him dig his heels around a ball and shrug off a challenge that would easily be deemed a foul in other Leagues. With that physical presence he helped Arsenal bring the ball out from the back which is vital to the way Arsene wants his teams to play. In his absence the Gunners have struggled on that front and it tends to expose the defence.

Song was also a tenacious player who kept chasing the ball even if the opponent beat him initially. That’s pestering quality is valuable to the way Arsenal defend as they tend to go after the ball instead of holding a strong defensive shape. There are few others (non-defenders) in the side who can do it as often and as well.

Finally, there was the case of Song’s creative contribution. Last season the Cameroonian attempted 90 through-balls and was successful with 24 of those. To put that in perspective, David Silva attempted 77 and was successful with only 18 while Liverpool (entire squad) completed 46 out of 105 and United 39 out of 102. Arsenal, as a team, attempted 294 with 87 finding a teammate. The corresponding numbers for City were 321 and 75.

What we see here is a variable that provides a good indication of the differences between the style of play of these teams and within that the relative qualities that Song possessed. He bettered Silva in attempts and success rate. That’s a clear sign of quality even if the actual accuracy is less than one in three as it’s one of the toughest passes to execute. There is absolutely no doubt Song was a big, big player for the Gunners last season and had a massive hand in the limited success of the quick wingers on the flank.

Against Sunderland, the Gunners didn’t really need the physical side or even defensive tenacity but they clearly missed his creativity from deeper areas.

Of course, Sahin can plug the creative hole whereas M’Vila can easily replicate the physical aspect of Song’s game. But Arsenal cannot play two in place of one so it’ll be interesting to see how Arsene goes about replacing Song. Even if Arsene is confident, I have a feeling the Gunners will struggle in the short term.

I’ll look at midfield options in detail after the transfer window closes so will pick up on this thread at a later time, for now I also want to explore the player’s perspective.

This is another aspect of the transfer that I found difficult to understand. Why would Alex Song want to move from a team where he has such a central role to one where he’d be a squad player? I never doubted the fact that Fabregas will be important to Barcelona but it’s difficult to see Song being a regular. It seems to me he’ll be a player who is introduced late in the games when the side wishes to defend a lead or is used in away games where opponents are likely to offer a strong physical challenge. Apart from that he’ll mostly be a back-up utility player.

That seems like such a waste of talent. And why would Song want to fritter away his career on the bench even if it’s the world’s best bench? Sure, he’s likely to have a better shot at medals and will quite possibly make more money but is that reason enough? Clichy, Nasri, and Cesc have played a significant part in title winning sides and RvP is likely to do the same even if the title winning aspect is up for debate. For Song that does not seem to be the case so it’s difficult to see ambition as a reason.

Maybe it is about the money, or the glory, or about being underappreciated, or something else. Time will tell.

For Barcelona it’s a good deal as they get a high quality utility player for good value. Wonder if Cesc had any part to play in this transfer?

Finally, I want to touch upon the manner of departure. Van Persie went from hero to villain after releasing one ill-advised statement. In contrast, Song had the following to say in a recent interview with Sky Sports,

I am not going to lie if I said there is no interest but I am at Arsenal and I am happy at Arsenal.

Really? If I add up the events – Arsene Wenger’s uncharacteristic curtness about the transfer, the speed at which the transfer has been agreed, and the rumours about attitude issues doing the rounds – I find it very difficult to believe Song was happy at Arsenal and that Arsenal were happy with him.

When Van Persie released his statement I was among the few who believed it was a fairly honest one. The player genuinely didn’t believe Arsenal were doing enough to win. With Song on the other hand, we have what appears to be a deceitful and empty comment aimed solely at maintaining PR.

I am not surprised but really disappointed with the way people have accepted this from Song while hating RvP. It’s like saying “We’re ok with whatever you do or think as long as you put out statements that say what we want to hear. Not the truth, not your honest opinion, just something that makes us feel better in that moment.”

I don’t blame the fans though. It’s a broader problem with the human race. We can’t always handle the truth, we need simplified narratives that suit our sensibilities. Politicians have mastered that art and that’s what we get from almost everyone else who is in the public eye. If individuals can’t do it they get PR firms to do it. Then again, writing such stuff on a blog in the public domain is akin to committing PR suicide so I’ll stop before I do irreparable damage!

Song has moved from the heart of London to the fringes of Barcelona. He must have his reasons but they’re not important at the moment. Arsene has to perform that heart transplant soon though. It could be a matter of life and death. It seems he’s found a donor, and the tissue’s a match, now he must perform the surgery and hope to avoid complications. Has it set your pulse racing yet!?

Stats from EPLIndex


36 Responses to Song Moves From The Heart Of London To The Fringes Of Barcelona

  1. joel says:

    SARIN OR M’VILLA ARE BETTER THAN SONG.SAHIN IS EVEN BETTER PLAYER THAN CARZOLA..HE IS A MASTER..HE IS DM AND AM…ALONSE IS SIMILAR TO HIM…ONCE NUHIN SIGNE FOR ARSENAL YOU GOONER wilL SE A wORLD CLASS PLAYER..SAHIN IS WORLD CLASS PLAYER I AM TELLING YOU..

    • Charlie says:

      I know he was the youngest ever player in the Bundesliga and I think he was the Bundesliga player of the season in 2010-2011 before going to Real so that all seems excellent but I don’t know much else. He’s a left footed, tenacious, creative central midfielder. Does that remind you of anyone ? Yes he seems to be a stand-in for Jack but what happens when the two are competing for one spot, can Arsene rotate two such outstanding players and keep both happy or is Sahin destined to just have a cameo role until Jack is fit ?

      • WafflingWenger says:

        Sahin is an incredible player. He was Dortmund’s best and most important player in his final year – a slow, relatively short (i.e not particularly physical) deep-lying creative player with very good technique, ball retention & passing ability ala Pirlo). He’s probably as slow as cesc too! lol!

        Despite their huge success last year, it’s pretty widely accepted that Dortmund have yet to replace him properly & that their lack of such a player (probably the most important position on the field at the moment in terms of tactical cycles) is probably their main reason for champions league failure last season.

        I’m VERY excited. Also, worth mentioning that if we get him, it will be at a very competitive price.

      • Dhru says:

        I agree Sahin looks similar to Jack. And I believe Arsenal is going to miss the physical presence of Song. The Coq can step up to some extent but how many players can you play in midfield?

        A midfield of Arteta, Cazorla, and Sahin with Diaby and Coq as back up looks technically superior but it is short in physicality which is needed in EPL. But still you never know..keeping my fingers crossed!

  2. manze says:

    @goonerdesi u’ve written a mad! Mad! Article…everything u say hear is what I’ve been thinking about all dese while…..i’ll follow u,hope U’ld follow back tho!

  3. davi says:

    “Arsene could make a like-for-like change by getting someone like M’Vila in or he could bring a different player like Sahin”
    I think we might find Sahin to be more of a like-for-like change because he seems to do the same things, namely defend well and play through passes from deep. He may not have the physical power of Song, but I think he’d have more of a presence on the pitch. M’vila would be an interesing alternative to Arteta because he (from what I’ve seen) does essentially the same job, but has that physical presence. The nice thing about arteta is that he’s proven over many years that he’s an effective attacker, so M’vila could take his DM spot, and Mikel could be played in more of a Song role or even further forward.

    “When Van Persie released his statement I was among the few who believed it was a fairly honest one. The player genuinely didn’t believe Arsenal were doing enough to win.”
    So why didn’t he retract his statement when Cazorla was signed? That made 3 experienced quality attacking players which improved the squad massively; it completely answered the issue of “ambition” and put us in a position to really challenge for competitions. I wasn’t convinced he moved for money but the fact that we could only offer half of the enourmous salary he’s apparently getting now must be a factor. He’s also gone to link up with the team and striker in particular who cheated the Invincibles, so he get’s no sympathy any more.

    “I am not surprised but really disappointed with the way people have accepted this from Song while hating RvP. It’s like saying “We’re ok with whatever you do or think as long as you put out statements that say what we want to hear. Not the truth, not your honest opinion, just something that makes us feel better in that moment.””
    That wasn’t my experience. People were attacking Song viciously from what I saw, when there wasn’t even any reason to at the time. Many were very willing to just discard him, but perhaps the reason it hasn’t been felt so strongly is that people just didn’t care as much about Song as they did about Van persie.

    Also you have to be naive not to see what RVP’s statement actually was; it was almost certainly written by his agent to attact interest from other clubs. It weakened Arsenal’s bargaining power. It was completely self-serving, and the Cazorla transfer really weakens the claim that his statement was genuinely just to inform the fans of the truth, as mentioned.

    Many people also bring up the fact that RVP was never there when we needed him, due to injury, and many managers would have got rid, but Wenger stuck by him, only to be stabbed in the back. You also have to consider that if it weren’t for Wenger, RVP would almost certainly be just a good winger, and a very good support striker, not the world class goalscorer he’s seen as today, as even the man himself admitted that he didnt believe he could play CF.
    The biggest issue as to why RVP should, and hopefully is (although I’m not sure), despised by the Arsenal fans over Song is that he moved to Manchester Utd.

    • Nepali Gunner says:

      I tend to agree more with Desi about the RVP statement. I do think it was in part to attract interest, but there was general truth to what he said. And good signing does not change that. If you look at our squad right now, there is still massive potential, but still lacks the world class finished product (Theo, Gervinho, Ramsey, Diaby and so on).

      Also, your statement about RVP not being there when we needed him is misplaced. He was there last year, and without him, we would have struggled to finish top six.

      In the end, RVP chose to leave for many reasons, and money was part of it. But us fans also need to be realistic about our team, we are still a notch ManU, City. That is the sad truth, and I think that is what Desi is alluding to as well. We need continuity to really challenge, and also either buy or develop players.

      It sucks that RVP went to ManU. I was livid. But rationally speaking, why is it any different than going to City? The player wanted to leave, and Arsenal sold him. Arsenal are better of because of that.

      • Nepali Gunner says:

        I meant to say “And one good signing doesn’t change that”.

        And “A notch below ManU, City…”

      • bob says:

        Football is not just about a rational, dispassionate analysis. There is memory and there is a legacy and an emotional investment in one’s team. You’re in it that way or you’re not. For this man to go to Manure is a traitorous act; for AFC to allow it is a breach of principle. indeed, for vanPursey to join the Diving Opportunist that ended our run only adds even more callousness to this man’s legacy. And for AFC to give Sir Rednose an attack featuring last season’s top two strikers is to stand before an incoming train. Complete and total madness for a cool 24M and, in those rational terms, the loss of our main scorer and a major marketing point for partnering with AFC, which sorely needs the dosh to pay off the eternal stadium debt (we are continually reminded). There’s nothing rational about this; only numbing oneself to the cold hearted realities of cold hearted operatives.

  4. patrick says:

    As a gunners suppoter point of view arsenal should try to keep key in order to win any trophy now its like arsenal is an academy for other clubs for arsenals boss is good because they get too much profit what about us the oweners of the game suppoters?

  5. Destr0 says:

    I think much of your post is pertinent. I do disagree with the defense of RvP’s statement. Regardless of how any of us feel about it, for the captain of the team, who, for all intents and purposes claimed to be such a die-hard Gooner (there are photos of him as a kid in an Arsenal shirt) to come out with such a statement is beyond unprofessional, it’s treasonous. Perhaps that is a strong word, but it’s true. The captain is supposed to lead and if there was a disagreement about the direction of the club, if we are to believe that, then that is to be kept to himself. There are other rumors about RvP making outlandish demands in regards to personnel among other things, but none of it excuses the captain of the team essentially abandoning his post and the men he is supposed to lead. If he wasn’t going to sign, ok, many of us have accepted that, even if we hate that it was with Man U. But whatever goodwill he earned through his stellar play, he absolutely burned with releasing that statement. I don’t think it would have been too much to expect that he saw out his contract, if he wanted to win something, surely he could see that the team had been strengthened and with him at his peak, would have been in the contention for multiple trophies this term. But it was not to be. He hid behind that statement in hopes that we wouldn’t see through the fact that he was out for the cash, plain and simple.

    • santori says:

      Yes but he has a point – we are again losing 2 of our top performers last season (possibly 3 with Theo)

      This is extremely disruptive.

  6. Very nice article, I like it.
    Song has made a mistake in my opinion but with no RVP I guess he has no one to set up this season? Still arsenal needs to change its attitude towards big players fast.
    Nichollssportblog.wordpress.com/football-2

  7. davi says:

    “In my opinion the key to this transfer was Wenger’s belief that the player can be replaced. ”
    If, ultimately, it was Wenger’s choice to let Song go, why even make the comparison with RVP, who clearly forced the move (and our most hated rivals)?

  8. Adeloye Emmanuel says:

    Desi, you are the best…am a fan in Nigeria but believe me, you are my role model…a mentor. I wish I could know you better and I hope one day I get the chance of meeting you…..Love your perspective on issues relating to arsenal…The way you analyse and dissect issues is second to none…Desi, YOU ARE MY HERO…Gunners till cocks lay eggs

  9. Foolishgooner says:

    I disagree mate, and i don’t disagree with your articles ever! Song had options and felt under appreciated for all the dirty and mind you the pretty work he does on the pitch. Robin, Jack, TV, Kol, Sagna, Cecs, Nasri and Theo missed significant amount of time on injuries and make/made more than/same as Song. Did he deserve better pay? absolutely. Did he say anything negative (Never mind your translations) about AFC or Wenger? nope. Was he under contract? yes. My take is that he is better than you think and we will see. Btw Song is from a footballing family, smart hard working 24 years old. He made to Arsenal midfield from French lesser team and loan spells….. He out grew Arsenal (At least this version of a selling club) and had options. Such as, best team in the world! Lets wish him luck. Why couldn’t we Sign Sahin from BD and we hoping to get him on loan now? Why did affelay tried his luck at Barca instead of granteed playing time at Arsenal? Four or five years ago, we were little short of money in terms of competing with big clubs but now we are definitely gun shy. I will come back and say sorry i was wrong if we sign M’villa before end of this transfer period. Our abilities and ambition is limited to a hopeful Loan spell for Sahin. No way we sign M’villa, that will upset the books.. Cheers.

    • davi says:

      “Theo missed significant amount of time on injuries and make/made more than/same as Song. Did he deserve better pay? absolutely. Did he say anything negative (Never mind your translations) about AFC or Wenger? nope. Was he under contract? yes.”

      Sums it up well. Song should have been one of our top earners because he was one of our top players. I’m convinced he’s kept us in the top 4 in at least one of the past few seasons because he’s always been there when we really needed him, he’s played through injury at times, and he’s always performed. Last season was a case-in-point. In previous seasons he’d been more of a screen player, never really the main DM, but more defense-minded, but this year no one was offering real creativity from midfield, so he stepped up and was massively important in getting us into 3rd. Did he get the credit he deserved? No. In fact he was more scape-goated, as Desi points out in the post. Arteta was the main DM, and Song supplemented him, and while he didn’t do a perfect job in every game, his attacking contributions more than made up for it and he deserved more respect than being made another scapegoat.
      He’s also apparently said that he owes everything to Arsenal and Arsene and wishes the club the best. He’s a good guy, who for some reason never got the credit he deserves. If he’d been English, no doubt he’d have been rated as highly as Wilshere, who is really a similarly talented player (has a bit more going forward but not so physically imposing).
      Song did a great job for us and I’m sad that he’s left. Will be missed, but it’s also true that no one is irreplaceable and I’m happy with the players we have now, assuming Sahin at least is signed.

    • davi says:

      Btw, I do disagree with your saying he out-grew arsenal, though. Had he and RVP stayed, we would surely have a squad capable of challenging for anything. I think Song left for a new challenge and to play with people like Messi, but not because he out-grew us exactly; as good as he is, he’s not above our level as a team. It is almost an example where players leaving because they believe the club is not able to win trophies has become a self-fullfilling prophecy.

      • Foolishgooner says:

        I said he (Song) out grew the current version of Arsenal, the Arsenal that sells their best players for many different reasons. Good luck to him and we will move on.

      • santori says:

        Money is an issue. What we can pay him pales in comparison to what they can.

        Perhaps RVP does have a point in that this is the world we live in and it would be ridiculous to expect a top talent like Song or RVP to accept a significant lower pay package from what they could at another club all on the basis of ‘loyalty’to club. This is simply romantic and out moded.

        OTOH, realitically as well, we simply can’t pay those sort of wages so we are stuck in a bind. So Wenger will have no choice but to sell those he can’t keep and bring those that feel sufficiently hungry to come to us instead.

        If we take Santi, don’t expect loyalty from him. He chose Malaga over us on pay package.

        It’s the real world we live in which Wenger alludes to.

        What we can do however is stand a little more firm on players with 3 years left on their contract.

        I don’t think the additional money Song was hankering for was all that much more from what he makes (70K from 55K I believe per week). We should have been able to work something out IMO, paid him a ‘performance bonus’ and then work on his replacement in a year’s time.

        Ruthless you say? Well, it’s this sort of ruthlessness conspicuously lacking on us and instead, we have been bullied to pander to the antics of the player in question, thereby encouraging more to follow.

        Very foolish.

  10. Excellent analysis, Desi.

  11. Wenger knows stuff we don’t, which is why he let Song go rather than pay him more. If the solution to whatever the problem was could have been cured simply by increasing Song’s pay, that’s what would have happened. Ultimately, Wenger concluded Arsenal FC were better off without Song.

    • santori says:

      But we should have worked the situation to the team’s benefit.

      Even if we paid him a higher sum over a year to keep him happy, it would be worth it as we will have less risk bedding in the new midfielder(s) who will replace him

      With the frontline being entirely new already, the last thing we need is more change in a critical area in midfield.

      That’s too much change and not enough continuity. Expecting the enitrety to gel immediately would be foolhardy.

      This is disruptive and not the best way for us to push upwards and challenge for titles.

      I’m afraid whatever good we’ve done bringing in the 3 new players is negated by this Song issue.

  12. Bob says:

    the whole of Arsenal Management board has lost, i think Arsenal FC needs a complete overhaul in strategies,as much as they baord and directors are making money, the entire fan community are losing faith in the Club, i think the Director of strategies in Arsenal FC is sleeping in his job, so is wenger,coz what he believed in is not working.he develops a players by the time he is at his pick other clubs come and buys him so what is the point, so what wenger said about developing a team from scratch is not working. so in that regards about Carzola he will become a world class player,and Arsenal FC will make him that, but i bet he will play one or two seasons before Barca comes calling, and he wont say no, coz we all know xavi and iniesta are about to end their dominance in barca coz of age, carzola will be the best replacement.so in my opinion we haven’t brought Carzola we have got him on ‘loan’ coz i dont see him staying in arsenal with his world class skills while Barca are just there watching.infact barca are also closing monitoring Miguel the defender, if he will proves himself ths season they will buy him next season.

    • santori says:

      Well already, you feel the weight of expectaion upon Santi’s shoulder.

      Wenger MUST bring in at least 2 (3 if Walcott leaves) very top quality players.

  13. Nepali Gunner says:

    I agree with most of your sentiments Desi. RVP left for many reasons, and I’m sure money was one of them. But the jist of his statement cannot be argued against. It’s difficult to see us win a major trophy with our current squad and without significant change of approach. However, I see us growing slowly.

    The Song sale is baffling, which to me suggests that it was more about attitude and commitment. And Song was important, but I think you are right that he was also careless at times.

    Anyways, players will be brought in. But we will struggle in the short term, and I think with our starting fixtures, this may not be the best start again. We’ve really lacked a settled pre-season for a while, and that might be why we won’t challenge this year again. I hope I am wrong though.

  14. Eurazian says:

    I like that this post has a slightly different take on the many things that have said about Alex Song.

    Regarding the manner of his exit as opposed to RVP… while I obviously don’t know everything, I prefer it when players keep things under wraps while there are deals going on. RVP’s public announcement embarassed the club, his manager, and made his position untenable. His attempt to win over the fans was a mistake because he forgot that we support Arsenal, and only support him because he works for Arsenal.
    Whatever goes on behind the scenes, players like Song and Cesc at least made a public show of respect for the club that made them what they are.

  15. JJ Pittman says:

    There must have been an awful lot we didn’t see going on behind the scenes. To me, letting Song go when we didn’t have to for at least two more years guarantees our continuing status as “just a development club”. Listening to AW about how deep we are at midfield made me wonder if he had any clue about the defensive part of the game. Know he’s not that clueless, so maybe he was ticked off at Song. From what I have heard, M’Vila has personal issues which will really be a problem if we sign him, yet he appears the only one capable of the physical side of DM. After more than 40 years a Gooner, I’ve seen dry spells before, but this time it really scares me. We could have taken a stand, but it’s all about the money even with 3 years on contract. Also, if you’re going to hypothesize psychologically about Song, it is equally true of AW.
    Hypocrisy enough for everybody!

    • santori says:

      I believe they (quite obviously) knew they were having issues with Song but delayed replacing to prove to RVP that we had an ambition to keep our best players.

      We are caught out.

      Why the management/Wenger did not get say Sahin in early is beyond me. It would not have impacted any formed opinion of Song by RVP and we could then have kept mr hugs as late as we liked before off loading.

      More importantly, it would have slightly less detrimental impact to our start of season.

  16. WC says:

    Desi you seem to forget that Song can play at both midfield and defense which is why Barca wanted him so badly. Puyol is in mid 30s and getting injuries. Aside from Pique they really have no good defenders, they had to play Macherano at CB last year. Yeah Mascherano is a monster on defending those set pieces with his 5 ft build. They need to be able to rotate Song and Biscuits as they did with Keita. LOL Liga is a 2 team league, everyone knows that, even the clubs themselves so how much defensive know how do you really tihnk is necessary when 2 teams are putting 4-5 goals past everyone else on a weekly basis and make 3-4 times more money than the rest?

    So you might think he’s going to be a fringe player but his ability to play through the spine of any team means that he has alot more use than you illustrate.

  17. createstrain says:

    song was unplayable on his day and will definitely be missed in the short term…. but was equally if not more frustrating. his aura on and off the pitch stunk of self importance. just watch his imo embarrassing attention seeking through out the tour this year not to mention the psychology behind his hair. i dont mind flicks and tricks and a bit of show boating once the job is well and truly done. but this was not the case for mr overly complicates everything. what i will miss the most is something many say we shouldnt buy m’vila for. his attitude. but for me they differ as songs seems to be based on narcissism. Yann though has that ‘wont be pushed around by anyone’ aura same as song that i think we need for certain games. in other games against buses sahin will do fine.
    surely with a mid of santi, arteta, sahin/m’vila pressure will be taken off carl a little giving sagna enough time to come back nicely.

    all in all im quite happy with how we’re shaping up. if it clicks sooner rather than later, them prem wont know whats hit em thanx to the media.

  18. fkdesi says:

    stop writing abt arsenal desi…terrible read.
    change ur job…better start blogging for spuds. i hate so called arsenal bloggers who criticize their own player…almost everyone who is leaving the club.

  19. santori says:

    I think it convenient that we suddenly start to pick holes in Song’s game when he leaves for Barca.

    Fact is that we’ve been bullied into pandering to his whims and that this will set a bad precedent particularly as he is firmly in contract with 3 years to go.

    The timing of this is utter rubbish as we are letting go of our only defensive minded lynch pin in midfield (who is familiar with back 4/Arteta) and one of our main contributors in assists 914) at start of season.

    Why so late? Wenger knew about the issues forehand.

    Well, again I think Wenger may have kept Song in the romantic belief that he would be able to sway RVP into changing his mind.

    That obviously did not work and we are now left instead vindicating RVP’s indictment upon our ambition (rightly or wrongly) by rolling over to easy on this one.

    I’m perplexed as to why most are more flumoxed by RVP’s departure than our inability to hold firm to Song.

    To me, we are risking some serious issues in believing that Song is ‘easily’ replaceable. He is not.

    If the first match of the season is anything to go by, it would serve to illustrate the difficulty in intergrating new players to the team (in this case the strikers)

    What then makes us think that a Sahin (talented as he is) or a MVila (reputation exceeds him) can come in and make an immediate impact? Any new player will need time to gel and considering the fine margins that may decide the outcome of this season’s title race, we have handicapped ourselves with our decision to let Song leave so easily.

    What could we have done you ask?

    I’m nto sure what’s done is done. But I believe Wenger should have had two options :

    1) To replaced Song EARLY. Forget about even attempting to retain RVP and get a new Dm in as quickly as possible.

    2) Stood firm and played SOng to our advantage. I believe Song was looking (of course) to improve his pay. We could have offereda ‘loyalty bonus’ with certain performance criterias worked in that would extend to next summer (and improve his pay till then). Then promised to revisit the issue then.

    Get a new DM/mid in now and let him go in January or next summer.

    At very least, ti would have afforded us Song for cover and time for the new DM to settle.

    Instead we are being bullied into his ultimate preferance which I don’t see as a positive outcome.

    Guise it what we may but at very least,we should be pushing the proccess for these tricky decisions on contracts more aggressively IMO.

    Walcott may be next to go. I think Wenger should put the gun to his head now and ask for an immediate resolution. If Theo wants to leave, at very least we should (should have) make a play for Affelay at Barca who wants more playing time.

    Why we have not taken advantage of this situation is anyone’s guess but to me, the Song situation has been terribly handled.

    From a PR stand point, we have decided to emphasis our image as a club that sells it’s best performers yearly which negates the good work bringing in 3 top signings and prevents us from fully pushing forth from our current stagnation point of 3rd/4th.

    From last Sat match, you could feel the weight of expectation/pressure on Santi’s sholder already. Could he go ina season or two if we draw blank again? Don’t expect anyone to wiat for a year left on contract to start agitating because we have afforded every next player/agent/team the perfect excuse to push us around and get what they want.

    As I mentioned, what’s done is done.

    What Wenger needs to do now is to get 2-3 exceptional signings in.

    Easy you say to get a rpelacement for Song? Think again.

    Every selling club will now know we have urgent requirement to fill the void left by Song who provided us good physcial cover.

    Prices will NOT be the customary Wenger discount.

    Sahin seems the most likely target to come in (MVila has several suitors yet chasing his signature) but RM will drive a hard bargain and I am not sure if we will get that sell on clause we so dearly desire (I hope we do)

    The midfield may be packed according to Wenger but we all know that the specific role Song played for us last season cannot be fulfilled by most of these candidates. Diaby comes closest but has durability issues (not to mention lapses of concentration)

    So rather than papering over cracks by offering excuses and conveniently picking holes in Song’s game, I think we should self assess ourselves and ask the question why we are unable to hold a player who is under contract till 2015 and why we are dealing with this so late on considering his specific role in the team.

  20. Chinke Chikezie says:

    Song is a good player no doubt and has contrubuted immensely to Arsenal, more especially last season. He was actually a very big part of our success story last season. Be that as it may he has taking his destiny by his hand and I hope he does not regret it, because that looks more like the story. Never the less the talk on replacing Song is not a big issue as Sahin is more than enough replacement. He is a more creative player than Song and also a wonderful goal scorer. His freekicks are a delight to watch. Most times when I watch him play I see nothing, but a younger version of Barca’s Xavi.
    I most say, this is not coming up because Song has left or that Sahin is coming in, but if you have watched this player for the past 3 seasons, especially when he was in Borussia Dortmund you will understand the type of player we are talking about here. You could call him the catalyst of Borussia Dortmund or the Fabregas of Borussia Dortmund. This was a player that personally wrecked Bayern Munich the season before he left Dortmund. He might not possess that physical presence, but he is a good tackler of the ball and a player with great vision. He will make more than amends for Song. This is the player that will re-write Arsenal’s success story. I hope he will be in to play by the weekend.

  21. ZGunner says:

    I feel the same way about Song as I do Van Persie: they don’t match the spirit of Arsenal and I am happy they are gone.

    Great article Desi.

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