Song: Wenger was like a father to me… so why did he leave his family?

| October 16, 2012 | 20 Comments

New Barcelona midfielder Alex Song has expressed his gratitude towards father figure and former manager Arsene Wenger, who helped the midfielder settle when he arrived as a 17-year-old, eight years ago.

The Cameroon international left North London in the summer transfer window and has praised his former mentor for helping to adjust to England life after leaving his family in France. The Frenchman developed the youngster into one of the most lethal midfielders in the Premier League which led to Barca’s interest over the summer.

The now-25-year-old praised his former boss for helping with his transition, and has labelled him as ‘like a father':

When I came to England, he was a big help to me. I was very young, just 17, not 25 like I am now. Wenger was like a father to me.

It was very hard for me at first because I had left my family behind in France, and so he treated me like a son.

I have a great relationship with Wenger. I want to thank him for believing in me. I want to give him back everything he gave me I’m sure he’s happy to see where I am now and the kind of player I have become.

He always said ‘do you remember your first touches of the ball when you came to Arsenal? They’re not the same as they are now’. And I’d answer: ‘you’re right. They’re certainly not the same as they are now’.

Wenger’s knack of spotting and nurturing young talent has worked time and time again, but the worrying trend is these types of players are sold in their prime. Although the Gunners have coped without Song this season, we would have been stronger with him.

It was another gamble by the Frenchman to place his faith in Diaby and Wilshere to take over the reigns of the box-to-box role that Arteta played so well last season, but I feel that if Song stayed he would add real steel to the midfield and his athleticism is only bettered by the Ivorian with the receding hairline.

Song rarely suffered injuries and could play 90 minutes 3 times in a week no sweat, and with his attacking prowess that developed last season would have helped the midfield to flourish even more. But what is done is done, and we just have to hope that Wilshere and Diaby will be able to keep fit this season.

The Cameroonian had earlier stated he was ready to commit his future to the North London club, but when Barca came in it seemed the Gunners were enfactuated by the cash-monies on offer..That is the bottom line why Song left his Arsenal family.

So should we still look to replace him this January or next summer? With Coquelin looking decent, and Frimpong close to a full first team return, Wenger will almost definitely not look to reinforce the defensive midfield position. Arteta has filled Songs defensive void well, so as long as the Spaniard remains fit for the season and is able to be rotated with the younger duo for non-league matches then Wenger’s gamble will pay off.

What are your thoughts on Song’s departure? Do you think Wenger has made the right choice? Feel free to comment below or in allArsenal’s forums.

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  • Smell a Rat

    It wasn’t the money, Song was flirting with Barca, he expressed an interest and I believe Wenger had just had enough of his players doing so as part of their negotiation tactics. So he was sold.

    Rightly so. with Wiltshire, Frimpng, Le Coq and Diaby there is more than enough cover, and when the error prone Song is trying to hold the club to ransom Wenger and arsenal have done the right thing. It will send a message to the other players, to at least repect their employer.

    The fact the players see Wenger as a Father is a double edged sword, as they feel they can get away with more. A hard line is defiantely needed at some point.

  • Xi_Gunner

    Old News…. Song is Gone.. And he was more than happy to sign.

  • sube

    If you read or listen to his full interview, he says that he left his family to come to Arsenal. On top of that he never said Arsenal team mates are like a family to him did he? He just said Arsene was “like” is father.
    It is more than clear that it was Song’s decision to leave and there was no reason to keep a player who wanted to go somewhere else.So, the question of whether Arsene was right to sell him is not legit.
    Replacement?Which position did Song play in? We have a defensive midfielder in Arteta playing far better than Song is.

  • Abduba

    Old news.anyway wen players get offer frm Barca it very dificult 4dem 2 queit.wish he breaks both arms n legs.

  • gun1

    Dont care about him. He’s no more arsenal’s player.

  • Aeolipile

    Song is a good, but not great player. He often neglected his defensive duties if he saw a Hollywood pass to RvP. He often gave away free kicks in dangerous positions because he was out of position to begin with. He often just drifted out of games and basically left Arsenal playing with ten men. Arsene bought him for a million, sold him for fifteen million when he was worth maybe 8 or 9 million, that’s not bad. I really don’t get Barca’s thinking on this one- maybe he’s Mascherano’s understudy?

  • Abu

    Wishing him best of luck at Barca, a father needs a gift from son. He should not just express empty talk but action to man Wenger. He went for money, that should also be passed to father. So sorry that he wont be in African cup of nation, Gunners the great/ forever.

    Mombasa, Kenya.

  • augustine

    That you are nolonger an arsenal player how would you pay back to professor.

  • skwam

    Song is not being missed but I dont get the sense at all of selling him…players now and again are shown interest by other clubs but as we saw during the summer Koscienly extended his contract even if Barca was interested…why didnt the same happen for Song? I believe and Im sure many many Gunners believed that Song wanted to stay even for less that what Walcott is demanding. Wenger went on a charm offensive with RVP who had come to say he disagreed with how things are done at Arsenal, yet Song was sold at the blink of an eye….Song was the fittest outfield player at Arsenal and adaptable too. We certainly would have been stronger with him especially with Diaby being so injury prone and most of the other midfielders lacking in physicality. Did Wenger see Ramsye for example quickly developing to feel Songs attacking side of the game? We know defensively he could give away free kicks easily in dodgy areas of the pitch….then there is/was Wilshire to return and it could have meant someone would be frustrated particularly between Song and Wilshire as Arteta has proven beyond doubt that the defensive midfielder role is his….then there is the AFCON as well, came into Wengers thinking? But one thing I know is that someone or two will quickly become as good as Song or even better, Coquilin. More questions than answers on the Song transfer

  • rukky

    There is more to this than meets the eye. Only Wenger ‘really’ knows why Song was not sure even Song understands his selling.

  • Abd R. ademurler

    I really luv song bcos is a player dt is well talented n shows great impact in arsenal… He is d only player wenger sold dt i thought it ws a big mistakes 4him,bcos player lyk him can’t b raised again. So my advising 2wenger is dt ,he should try enough 2buy talented blocking 4 so dt myk arteter can b free nd serve as a reserve 4blockin4…. I luv arsenal ……

  • mu arsenali

    song was good at tackle and good passes upfront but fallback was his main problem counters left us valnerable so we had to let him go since we could not keep him on bench.

  • seun

    Song wanted leaving arsenal, so the best option is to let go. There is no point keeping a player whose mind is off d team. .

  • gunnerscore

    The team improved after he left. NO loss at all.

  • weedz

    If the best footballing side in the world asked for your signture, would you condider it?

    This is a silly and naive article.

    Alex Hleb went, so has Cesc, Marc and Emmanuel. How many other EPL club players were/are good enough to be asked?

    Players like Nasri and van Persie only left for the money, but if they had of been asked, I have no doubt that they would be living in north-east Spain rather than north-west England.

    And I say this as a Gooner of 50 yrs.

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