It’s fair to say that without Alex Song this season, West Ham would not be enjoying the same amount of success that many Hammers fans have enjoyed so far.
The former Cameroonian international has been in fine form since returning to the Premier League this season, adding maturity and composure to the Hammers midfield. His passing range has been exquisite at times and his ability to break down play is exactly what the team needed in the middle of the park.
There is no doubt that West Ham have a lot of midfield options in the absence of Alex Song. Despite that, Song is a different class, his presence in the team the XI to a whole new level and allows them to play the brand of football the fans have been crying out for.
David Gold recently admitted that he is ‘confident’ of signing the Cameroonian on a permanent deal when his loan runs out at the end of the season. Although Song himself has not stated that he 100% wants to stay at West Ham, he has left the door open for a potential permanent move in the summer.
A lot will depend on where the Hammers finish this season and whether they can prove that they are ambitious enough to lead the club forward before the move to the Olympic Stadium. Qualifying for Europe will encourage him to stay as he is already settled in London, where his wife reportedly loves the city and wants to stay. Therefore, if Song is to stay in England, he will most likely stay put in the capital. This means that potential interest from clubs like Arsenal and Tottenham could gather pace in the summer. However, West Ham will be given priority if Barcelona make Song available for the permanent move away from the club.
If the club’s owners are willing to invest in the squad in a similar manner they did in the summer, the squad will improve once again. Therefore, if further quality players are added to an already strong group at the Boleyn Ground, there is more of a chance that the Hammers will keep hold of one of their most prized possessions. It is important that the East London club keep hold of players like Song because that is the difference between pushing on and falling back to mid-table mediocrity.
Right now, West Ham have an excellent balance in midfield due to the energy provided by Song, Cheikou Kouyate and Mark Noble. The permanent signing of Song may cost as little as £10million, which would in turn allow Sam Allardyce to improve the team in other areas of the pitch. At this particular moment in time, the only first team player at West ham whose future is surrounded in doubt is Winston Reid. However, he himself has released a statement this week claiming that he is committed to West ham for the rest of the season and is not sure what the future will hold. This suggests that Big Sam won’t be forced to sell a lot of players in the summer, meaning he can improve the squad rather than focus on replacing players who have left.
Therefore, West Ham fans will feel that if the club enjoys a successful season both in the league and the FA Cup, Alex Song may well be tempted to stay. Many presumed that the 27-year-old would use West Ham as a potential shop window for ‘bigger’ clubs to make a move for the midfielder in the summer.
However, if the Irons continue to impress this season, the permanent signing of Song would represent a real statement of intent as they look to life in a new stadium and indeed the dawning of a new era in the 2016/17 season.