WTTGT Writer: Tashan Deniran-Alleyne
Not by any of the current centre-backs, not by youngsters in Kyle Bartley or Ignasi Miquel, but by Alex Song.
How many of you noticed a missing key player from my article last week? When I compared the 03/04 ‘Invincibles’ squad to the current 11/12 squad.
Yes, that player was the blonde Cameroonian, and it was intentional that I left him out. I chose to leave him out of the current midfield crop because I feel he could be the answer to Arsenal’s ongoing problem in defence.
It must not be forgotten that Arsène Wenger has stated in the past that he views Song as centre-back and that he will end up there in the future – could the future be this season? Though, he has played his two pre-season games in his usual defensive midfield role but with more games coming up, don’t be surprised to see play centre-back at some stage. In fact he did play there during the Carling Cup runs in the 07/08 and 08/09 seasons and did look suitably comfortable there.
De-Ja-Vu is another reason why I feel he could end up in that position. Take a look at the summer before the 03/04 season, when Wenger was on the lookout for a centre-back to partner Sol Campbell – ring any bells? Instead of dipping in to his pockets and splashing the cash on a new arrival, he promptly converted midfielder, Kolo Toure into a centre-back – I’m sure you see the theme that is occurring here. Who is to say he won’t do the same thing with Alex this season?
A final reason is the demand amongst fans for Wenger to revert back to 4-4-2, which served the club so well in the past. Should he agree with the fans and change the formation then instead of five across the midfield, it will be four, and therefore one will be the unlucky odd one out.
Now assuming Arsène will play with two strikers up top with two wingers, and with Jack Wilshere’s place pretty secure, then that leaves the remaining spot being awarded to an attack minded player like a Samir Nasri or Aaron Ramsey. With Alex Song more defensive minded and being regarded as an important first-team member, then the only compatible position for him in a 4-4-2 would be at the heart of the defence.
There is no question that Arsène needs to strengthen his defence and has been linked with defenders such as Gary Cahill, Chris Samba and Phil Jagielka, but we all know how stubborn he can be.
The prospect of seeing Alex Song playing centre-back should not be ruled out just yet considering he fits all the requirements that Wenger looks for in a player. He’s young, athletic, versatile, and has Premier League experience. Most importantly, he provides the cheaper option!