Alex Song has yet to play for West Ham this season, having returned to the Boleyn Ground on a season-long loan deal from Barcelona in the summer.
The Cameroonian midfielder excelled with the Hammers last season, and it is expected that he will immediately claim a first-team place when he is at full match fitness, having suffered an injury over the summer which has kept him out of the season so far.
Despite West Ham starting the season in impressive form, there are some cracks which are starting to show in the midfield, and Song’s return to action cannot come soon enough for the Hammers.
Mark Noble, Cheikhou Kouyate and Pedro Obiang are the three choices for the holding midfield roles, with Slaven Bilic so far opting to name two central players alongside one another in a 4-2-3-1 system.
This has worked well on occasion, but places a lot of pressure on the two midfielders, and performance levels have seemed to drop form both Kouyate and Noble.
The former is struggling to impose himself upon games, despite his obvious physicality, whilst the latter’s possession and passing is slowly becoming worse and worse - after a great start to the season.
Obiang is performing well, but his starting role is still not guaranteed as he comes to terms with the style of the Premier League.
This is where Song comes in, and his proven Premier League quality and undoubted talent are needed to improve the side.
Whilst Kouyate and Noble can play now without pressure, knowing that their places are not under threat, when Song is back in action he will be fighting for a first-team role.
When he is selected to play he will improve the side, whilst the midfielder will also force Noble and Kouyate to up their own performance levels to ensure they stay in Bilic’s thinking.
With the signing of Song, Bilic now has four top class midfielders to call upon, all vying for two places, and this increased competition is the perfect thing to ensure that all the players are trying their hardest to ensure they are always selected.