When Arsenal lost Robin van Persie to Manchester United in 2012 - that in itself was bad enough. When Alex Song followed him out of the exit door to Barcelona, the club had lost arguably their best two players in a matter of months.
Song’s departure was unexpected. At the start of the summer it appeared the Cameroonian would be staying in North London. But as soon as it became clear that Barcelona were genuinely interested, Song lost interest with Arsenal.
But the move has not paid off dividends for the 26-year-old midfielder. Last season he played just 20 times in La Liga under Tito Villanova but hoped it would change under the reign of Tata Martino. It hasn’t, Song is once again confined to the bench in Catalonia.
With that in mind many Spanish reports yesterday evening began to run with the story that Song had decided he wants to leave Spain in the winter, either on loan or on a permanent deal.
And one team linked with his signature this week knows they would be recreating a star duo, arguably the most prolific in the Premier League in 2011-12.
Alex Song, altogether, had 14 assists to his name - and the most famous of those came for Van Persie.
Discounting the goals the Dutchman netted against Norwich City and Borussia Dortmund - it was Song’s ability to find him with beautifully weighted long-balls against Merseyside rivals Everton and Liverpool that still sticks in the memory the most…
But while undoubtedly Song brings much more to his game than simply being a ‘holding midfielder’ that is where he plays on the pitch - and United do not necessarily need him.
With Michael Carrick and new signing Maraoune Fellaini expected to share those duties this season - where on earth would they play Song?
No, the idea of partnering him with RVP again is great but in the end not what United need.
Song is an outstanding player, and certainly should leave Barcelona as soon as possible to avoid stagnation - but joining Manchester United seems a little too far-fetched, even for us.
image: © Ronnie Macdonald