With Rigobert Song coming out this week with some rather interesting quotes about his cousin Alex’s choice, and regrets, over moving to Barcelona many have linked him with a return to Arsenal.
During his seven year Arsenal career Song made over 200 appearances for the Gunners in all competitions and was starting to show real leadership qualities on the pitch, developing into a strong and dominating midfield presence, something many would argue Wenger’s side had missed since the departure of Patrick Vieira.
Having arrived in the same summer as Vieira’s departure he was not brought in as the answer at the time but as a youngster on loan from Bastia with promise and hope he could either develop into a strong centre-half or defensive midfield player.
He made his breakthrough towards the end of the 2007/08 season and although only featured nine times, it was towards the back end of the season, with Wenger struggling at centre-back that he handed the youngster a chance at the heart of the backline.
Song put in some promising displays and played in the 4-0 defeat at Old Trafford that all but signalled the end of the club’s title challenge in a season they had looked likely to bring home the title before a fateful February day at St. Andrews where the wheels seemed to come off.
Song then started to become somewhat of a regular featuring 48 times with 31 league appearances the next season.
His development kept going on a steady progression and became the player who gave creative freedom to players like Cesc Fabregas, Samir Nasri and Jack Wilshere, helping their progress as much as his.
In his last season with the club, he took up a creative role in the side. With Fabregas and Nasri sold on and Jack Wilshere out with a long term injury Wenger needed someone to stand up and be counted and Song, now a senior figure in the dressing room did exactly that creating 11 goals from 34 league appearances.
It was also during this season though that limitations to Song’s play started to unravel with him seeming almost lazy at times in defence and sometimes stupidly caught in possession in the middle of the pitch.
Now though Song is looking like another Arsenal player who was left the club in search for trophies only to find himself on the bench more than the pitch and the quotes released by his cousin led many to believe a switch back to North London may be on the cards.
Have Arsenal moved on though? Do they need Song back?
People do say never go back, and with many fans not wanting Song back it may not happen, but would it be catastrophic if he were to return.
Arsenal are in need of a holding midfield player with no one of any real presence in their midfield and Song gave them that before he left and would give this back to them, but many would prefer the club to look for fresh and new targets.
Song offers the club experience and is a player use to rigour of the Premier League game however even only a year on Song would have to realise the set up at the Emirates is a lot different to what he left.
It is more like the 2010/11 set up he played in with Nasri, Fabregas and Wilshere rather than the team he left where creative responsibility was on his shoulders, something he took up and sacrificed defensive responsibilities for.
A quote from the Arsenal website reads:
“First of all, if you asked Alex, ‘do you want to attack or defend?’, he would say attack,” says manager Arsène Wenger. “He is naturally a guy who tends to go forward and he always had good vision.”
This demonstrates the player in the 2011/12 season, not the defensive player of 2010/11 and could Song go back to that or after growing into a senior player and flamboyant personality off the pitch, did he begin to feel he was above other in his position at the club, similarly to Wojciech Szczesny this season.
There is no doubt a player who has played over 200 games for the club would be a good addition, but the club seems to have moved on and Wenger does not seem to be a manager to go back and get players from previous sides, other than Theirry Henry that is, and why would Song be different.
He seems as though he may just be another player who thought the grass was greener on the other side, but if he were to come back he would have to adapt and change his game back to how he played with superior creators and play his part for the team.
That is not saying he is not a fantastic passer of the ball as he is, but do Arsenal have anyone to finish the kind of chances he use to create for Robin van Persie and at the current time that would be a resounding no.
There are in far more need for a midfielder with presence and who can offload an easy pass to the likes of Wilshere, Cazorla and Ramsey.
The most important thing for Arsenal and Arsene Wenger is that he strengthens his defensive midfield options with Arteta not seeming strong enough in the middle of the park especially in the big matches.
Song therefore may not be a bad option for Wenger with his experience at the club but would have to play a team role rather than one that exploits his personal ability, a move away from Barcelona seems certain for him with the lack of first team opportunities and will not want to let a promising career go to waste.
The quotes from his cousin Rigobert do sound like a desperation call in order to get interest in Alex up but it seems unlikely he’ll return to the Emirates, even if the move seems as though it would suit all parties with Wenger more likely to pursue other targets and not be a manager who goes back to previous players, the club and personnel Song played with have moved on.