There aren’t too many Arsenal fans who wouldn’t take Cesc Fabregas back if given the opportunity. Despite the circumstances surrounding the player’s exit to Barcelona in 2011, Fabregas remains an icon and a much-loved part of Arsenal’s recent history.
The same cannot be said about Alex Song. For those who wanted to look past those party trick lofted passes to Robin van Persie in his final year at Arsenal, it was clear to see that Song really didn’t provide much to the team. He constantly neglected his defensive duties and often thought of himself as something of a creative wizard. The assists numbers may have been impressive, but in comparison to the number of times he threw away possession they didn’t look too good.
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Incidentally, Song hasn’t looked too good in a Barcelona shirt this season, either. It is quite plain to see how out of sync he is with the rest of the Barcelona team, doing nothing to offer a backup to Sergio Busquets and the duties required of that role, while at times looking tactically inept. It’s not just a vicious swipe at the player; Fabregas also admitted to how difficult he found the transition from Arsenal to Barcelona and the tactical approach carried out by the Catalans. It just so happens that the team had alternatives to Fabregas, while they’ve really struggled in the defensive department for much of the season – an area in which Song was brought in to provide cover.
Song is capable of offering a lot and has seen a very good season in an Arsenal shirt, but what good would it do to revisit the player in the near future? Such is Barcelona’s style of play that they can sometimes afford for Song not to be at the top of his game; Arsenal simply do not share that same pressing game that sees Barcelona retrieve the ball so expertly.
There really shouldn’t be any thoughts of bringing Song back to Arsenal. It’s not that it would show Arsenal in a negative light, but the question has to be asked what the player can really bring to the team.
A defensive midfielder is needed going into next season, but there are many options available around Europe who would prove to be a better acquisition than the Barcelona midfielder. On top of that and possibly even more of an important factor over his footballing contributions is that Song left Arsenal on bad terms, with reports suggesting his attitude really started to turn for the worst in his final year. It doesn’t matter how good a player is or has been in the past, Arsene Wenger will always look past a maturing player with that kind of baggage.
It’s still quite clear that Fabregas has an appetite for the Premier League. He hasn’t been able to slot into the Barcelona midfield as seamlessly as previously thought, either playing out of position or lacking the tactical discipline to link up with Xavi and Andres Iniesta.
The positive for Arsenal is that Fabregas finally has his league title and may feel a little more at ease to return to England in the near future. Of course, that’s not to imply that’s it on the trophy front for the player, but he certainly won’t feel as anxious as he did in his final year with Arsenal.
Importantly, Arsenal will need to show another level of ambition if they are to explore the option of re-signing Fabregas. There are good players currently in the team but both the player and the supporters need to see more in the coming transfer window. It most certainly won’t be about Arsenal biting the bullet or swallowing their pride to bring back Fabregas; Arsene Wenger has mentioned in the past that is it possible we’ll see the player in an Arsenal shirt once again. More than Barcelona, Arsenal is Fabregas’ football home.
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