By Brett Stein (@JerZGooner)
There seems to be quite a bit of vitriol flying around the Gooner Twitterverse the last few days relating to our boy Alex Song and the hot pursuit of some familiar Catalan fiends. Some people are angry at the Barcelona FC players for their annual tapping up moves and way too many fans are actually upset that Alex “wants to leave”, shunning the club that raised him to be the player he is today. There is nothing we can do about the former problem. The hyenas will always be loudest when their club spots an attractive player. But the latter issue, that of supporters being mad at Song, is something that should be properly put into perspective. I was shocked by how many anti-Song messages came through my Twitter timeline.
This is not a situation like Cesc wanting to take his Barca DNA back to Spain. This is not a Na$ri situation, a greedy little fellow looking to capitalize on some decent recent form for increased wages. This is not a captain who shall not be named (seriously, haven’t we read and typed those three letters enough the last day?) turning heel on the club that literally nursed him back to good health and performance. This isn’t a handful of magic beans we are looking to sell for any taker we can find. For once in the last 15 months we have a player who, by all internet accounts, is under contract for the next three seasons and is not going into his last year looking to make a hasty cash grab. In fact, this is an opportunity for AFC to finally chase some coin. Our beloved club can actually be in a position of leverage during the transfer window? Weird.
The following ramble is simple buy low-sell high economics. Ever meet a dummy who bought Apple stock back when Steve Jobs was just some weirdo wearing a black turtleneck in his Mom’s garage? How’d that turn out? Back then that stock was nothing, now it is something other people want. Something of value, pass me a turtleneck please. SC Bastia loaned Song to the Gunners during the 2005-06 season and then eventually sold him to AFC for £1M before the 2006-07 campaign. The last report I read this week had Barca offering north of £15M for Song’s midfield services. Not a bad return on our initial investment, eh? It is cold and emotionless but Song is an asset that has appreciated in value. Sure he has a cool, funky haircut, some personality, and is a true player in the dressing room just as much as he is on the pitch, this is all very endearing indeed. He’s vastly improved over the years but we all know he still has some faults on the defensive side of the ball. But the real fact of the matter is his perceived value on the market is at an all-time high and perhaps this is Wenger’s chance to be proactive with the roster. Maybe Alex wants to stay, we certainly do need more of those players. And it’s always easier to emotionally write off and curse a want-away player. But maybe we can turn the funds generated from Song into M’Vila and a reliable back up goal keeper? Would the fast and furious Tweeters who are down on Song and his sale be upset with those roster turnover results? Probably not.
It sounds cliché because the phrase is always thrown about, but it’s undeniably true: football is a business. If Alex Song is sold it will be a business move and we’ll be disappointed to see him go. He may not even really want to leave (I mean how much playing time will he actually get at Camp Nou? I would predict a loan move eventually. Write that down, you heard it here first!). But remember, selling a player with a contract and quality level such as this will be done for financial reasons and ultimately the good of the club. Put the emotion aside and the Tweeting thumbs down, good business like this will eventually lead us back to the promised land. We’ve only got one Song, but perhaps not for long.