Barcelona should be considering the option of wiping Alex Song’s slate clean

Sorry, West Ham United fans, but maybe there is not a permanent deal to be done for Alex Song.

The Cameroonian midfielder has been a resounding success since returning to English football at Upton Park.

His displays make you wonder why Arsene Wenger was not aware of his availability, with Arsenal having lacked assurance in the holding midfield role pretty much since bidding farewell to Song.

That deal was rather forced upon them, with Barca’s interest turning heads and making a move inevitable.

Surely the Gunners should have been looking to take him back, though, after seeing regular game time dwindle in Catalonia?

Their loss has, however, been West Ham’s gain.

Sam Allardyce has invested wisely since last summer, with Song one of several new recruits to have settled instantly in the East End and helped spark an unlikely push for a top-four finish.

Champions League football represents a serious carrot dangling just out of reach, but can they convince Song to join them on a full-time basis if they fall short?

Can they convince Barcelona to sell?

They let him go in 2014 for a reason – that reason being that he did not figure in their long-term plans.

That situation may have changed.

Song

Luis Enrique is testing the patience of the Nou Camp board, with better expected of a former favourite from his playing days.

Barca hoped he would prove to be the next Pep Guardiola, but a quick scan of his previous coaching record suggests that was always a tad optimistic.

He has stuck to the philosophies of his predecessors, but is that the right approach?

You get the feeling that the Primera Liga heavyweights would look a lot more solid with Song alongside Sergio Busquets in the middle of the park. Those who have bought FC Barcelona tickets this season have seen their beloved club develop a ‘softer centre’ with the departure of Song himself and also defensive talisman Carles Puyol who recently retired.

That could be a useful option heading forward, with there no longer the need to fit Busquets, Xavi and Andres Iniesta into the same area of the field.

Ivan Rakitic is good, of that there is no doubt, but he is not Xavi.

A change in approach, helping to shore things up at the back and offer Busquets greater freedom to get on the ball and push on if he sees fit, may be considered a sensible tactical tweak – even if UEFA competitions betting continues to rate Barca as one of the strongest sides on the continent.

It also has to be remembered that Barca have been barred from dipping into two transfer windows – the current one in January and the one set to swing open in the summer.

As they will not be able to add, why would they want to part with assets that could prove useful further down the line?

Song is tied to a long-term contract which is due to run until 2017, so they are under no pressure to sell and he should be approaching, or already be at, his peak at 27 years of age.

Busquets is just a year younger, so pairing the two together could put down solid foundations for the foreseeable future – with the likes of Iniesta, Neymar, Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez able to express themselves safe in the knowledge that their attacking forays are well covered.

This may not be what West Ham supporters want to hear, with Song having hinted at joining on a permanent basis, but that is part of the risk when taking a player on loan. There is always the chance that you will reignite a spark and send said player back to his parent club as a more valuable asset than when he left.

Absence, as they say, makes the heart grow fonder.

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