Once again the Gunners have been forced to sell their captain as van Persie, like Nasri heads to Manchester but this time to United and they could be about to sell yet another player to Barcelona as the Catalan giants are after Alex Song. We discuss how it could be the midfielder that the club will miss the most and how he does not get the credit he deserves from most outside of Arsenal.
Last season van Persie scored 30 goals in the Premier League which was enough to win him the Golden Boot. Arsenal fans will find it hard to deny that without his goals, they wouldn't have finished anywhere near third. Van Persie's departure means we're at that time of year again where every man and his dog are writing the Gunners off before a ball has even been kicked.
What van the man did last season was incredible. His remarkable goal-tally? No, the fact he went through the whole season without picking up an injury - van Persie started every single Premier League game bar one and in the one he didn't start, a home game against Stoke City, he came on with just under 25 minutes remaining and bagged two goals. If you had said to any Arsenal fan this time last year that their Robin van Persie will feature in every single game this season, they would have laughed in your face. Until the 2011-12 season, many thought he was made out of paper.
So what about Song? Any Arsenal fans reading will not need to hear this, they know how good he is. To say Alex Song is one of, if not the most underrated midfielder in the whole of Europe would not be an understatement. Last season, Song assisted 11 of Arsenal Premier League goals and of these 11, four were van Persie's and three were match-winners.
Song was responsible for creating some of Arsenal's finest and most memorable moments of last season. Van Persie's wonderful volley against Everton which secured a 1-0 win was crafted by Song as was another match-winning volley, this time against Liverpool at Anfield and who can forget Thierry Henry's dream return to the club? Song picked Henry out with a fine pass as the Frenchman marked his return with a goal - yet another match-winner.
It has been reported that Arsenal will consider letting the Cameroon international leave the Emirates if they receive an offer between £15-20 million. Barcelona officials were apparently in North London earlier this week to discuss a move but are only thought to want to bid £12 million. Unlike want-away stay van Persie, with Song the situation isn't so desperate - he still has three years left on his contract so the Gunners are not in a position where they have to sell.
Songe is the anchor of the team who breaks play up when needed and as already cited, creates lots going forward. Only van Persie and Theo Walcott were the only players to achieve the same amount of assists as Song last season for Arsenal and so they should, playing their advanced attacking roles.
Whilst Lukas Podolski and Olivier Giroud have been brought it and will go some way to filling the void left by RVP, who could possibly replace Song? Arsenal have fantastic young talent in midfield in Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Jack Wilshere but both are more attack minded and although both could do a job there, I doubt neither as well as Song.
Arsenal fans will be hoping Barcelona do not give the club an offer worth considering as the player has reportedly said to a friend that he "would to play for Barcelona, who wouldn't?" Song has also said though, that he is happy at Arsenal as he is settled in London.
At the age of 24, Song still has his best years to come but where will these years be spent? Watch this space.
image: © Ronnie Macdonald