Alex Song looks set to leave West Ham but will he be such a loss?

On-loan Barcelona star Alex Song is being heavily linked with a move away from West Ham United this summer, but would his departure be such a big loss?

If you had asked West Ham fans at Christmas whether the club should fork out as much as £15 million to keep the 27-year-old former Arsenal man, the answer would have been a resounding 'yes'.

He was the man who had lit up the first half of their season as they nestled in the Premier League's top four playing some fantastic football along the way.

Song was at the heartbeat of everything, winning one Man of the Match award after another. The Hammers had found the missing link to propel them onto the next level.

He was a player that would help inspire the current squad and encourage better players to sign on at Upton Park. All the club had to do was get him to buy into the long term vision with a move to the Olympic Stadium on the horizon right?

Ask the same West Ham fans whether the club should shell out the big money for Song now and you will get a very different answer.

Such has been the former Cameroon captain's decline since he was rested by Sam Allardyce for the away match at Chelsea over Christmas, they would probably tell you the money would be better spent elsewhere.

The ex-Gunners midfield enforcer has been linked with all and sundry since donning his various coloured boots and 80s style "short shorts" at the Boleyn.

According to the Metro, several clubs including Liverpool and Inter Milan are weighing up a move for Song.

But would his departure be such a big loss to West Ham? Yes he was brilliant for the first few months in the claret and blue. However, when the going got tough Song's performances dipped alarmingly.

A lack of effort, poor body language, half-heartedly jogging back to help his defence and sloppy passing have been the main features of a torrid second half of the season for Song, who is also yet to score for the club.

In his most recent match at Manchester City - the perfect stage to put himself in the shop window - he was so ineffectual he was substituted early in the second half. He refused to acknowledge his ongoing teammate or manager.

He missed the Hammers' trip to Queens Park Rangers last time out through injury, which has been another sporadic problem for the African star.

Song recently revealed he wanted to stay at West Ham but 'didn't know' if that would happen. Speaking to Sky Sports he said: "Yeah, I definitely want to stay here. I don't know (if I can sign a permanent deal at West Ham).

"I can't say anything now because I want to focus on the rest of the season and then we will see."

If co-owners David Gold and David Sullivan are pondering spending large sums on Song this summer they may be persuaded otherwise by the form of his midfield partner and fellow African Cheikhou Kouyate.

The 25-year-old Senegal man has been a bargain for the Hammers, costing just £7 million from Anderlecht last summer. His attitude, energy, effort, versatility - he has often filled in at centre-back with minimal fuss - and goals have been a major plus for the East Londoners.

So should Song leave there could be plenty more Kouyates in the sea of transfers.

Register for HITC Sport - Daily Dispatch