Arsenal are no strangers to losing players to other clubs. Almost every season, we lose one of our biggest stars to another team who can afford to pay more (Samir Nasri) or who have a better chance of success (Fabregas). The list of players to have left Arsenal in recent times is a long and sad one, full of stars. But former Arsenal player Martin Keown believes that it was one of the more modest names that caused the most disappointment to Wenger.
The likes of Cesc Fabregas and Robin van Persie naturally spring to mind, but Keown belives that Alex Song is the player that Arsenal could have used to most and who caused the most disappointment to the manager when he left. Funnily enough, all three are still playing in the Premier League; RvP of course went to United but Song and Fabregas, who were both purchased by Barcelona, decided to return to England to play for fellow London clubs West Ham and Chelsea respectively. Coincidentally, all three clubs are also currently higher than Arsenal in the League table.
Speaking to the Daily Mail, Keown said:
The grass is not always greener. When Fabregas and Robin van Persie left, Wenger let them go to further their careers.
With Song, it was more of a disappointment. Arsenal invested a lot of time in him and hoped he would want to stay and repay them.
While RvP and Fabregas went on to play pivotal roles for their clubs, Song struggled after leaving Arsenal and never quite fit in at the Catalan club. He was also a second choice to Sergio Busquets, which meant that he got little if any playing time. However, at West Ham, he looks to be getting back on track and has delivered some good performances of late.
He is a player we never replaced, and our defensive midfield has remained a weakness since he left the club. Though we brought in Mathieu Flamini to try to fill the gap, the Frenchman does not have the same physical presence and stamina that Song does. Now especially, with the injuries in our midfield, a player like Song would have been very useful. But it was not to be, I guess.