It just hasn’t quite happened for Alex Song since he moved to Barcelona, with the African midfielder finding first-team opportunities with the Spanish giants hard to come by.
The Cameroon international has only started nine La Liga games for the Camp Nou side this season and is being linked with a departure from Catalunya in the summer.
But, which of these three Premier League sides would be advised to move for Song? And where would he be best suited?
Arsenal sold Song to Barca in the summer of 2012, amid a mixed reaction from the Emirates Stadium faithful.
The midfielder was one of the side’s better performers in the 2011-12 campaign with an impressive array of passing and forward runs catching the eye.
The main grievance from the Gunners fans was Song’s lack of positional discipline, with the holding midfielder caught high up the pitch on occasion.
As it stands, Arsenal are well stocked with central midfielders and now have a designated enforcer in the form of Mathieu Flamini.
With Mikel Arteta also a deep-lying playmaker in the African’s ilk, Song’s return to Arsenal seems very unlikely.
Manchester City have a settled central midfield partnership in the form of Yaya Toure and Fernandinho, with the pair arguably the best duo in the division.
However, behind this the options lack the ability to install confidence in Manuel Pellegrini. With Gareth Barry out on loan and unlikely to return to City and the futures of Jack Rodwell and Javi Garcia unknown, there could be scope for a new central midfield addition.
Song would certainly be an upgrade on the likes of Rodwell or Garcia, but may well face a similar situation at the Etihad Stadium to the one he is currently in.
Regular guaranteed first-team football would not be a given at City and although he would improve Pellegrini’s options, Song would need to realise that he could face prolonged periods on the sidelines.
As for Manchester United, central midfield is an area that is expected to have a bit of an overhaul this summer. Tom Cleverley has been chastised by the Old Trafford faithful, while Marouane Fellaini is yet to prove himself at the club.
With a creative, energetic player in David Moyes’ sights, there could be scope for a move for Song. Michael Carrick operates in a similar role to what Song took up at Arsenal, but partnering the Cameroonian with him could work.
This would allow Song to get forward knowing that he had fewer defensive responsibilities. Using the African as an offensive force could work, and he is certainly more able in a creative capacity than any of United’s current options in the centre of the park.
For United, weighing Song up against a dedicated box-to-box player would need to be done before any bid was launched, but the Old Trafford side seem the most likely of the three linked teams to make an approach for the Barcelona man.
image: © Ronnie Macdonald