Alex Song’s move to West Ham is believed to be edging closer to completion.
The Daily Telegraph have spilled the beans on the current state of the deal, with Barcelona allegedly revising their initial stance regarding the Cameroonian’s availability.
After demanding £5m in the fledgling stages of negotiations, Los Blaugrana have opened their mind to a new, revolutionary way of asset selling – they’re just going to give him away.
This charitable change of heart means the former Arsenal man is just 1/4 to return to Upton Park on a permanent basis before the summer transfer window’s closure.
Signing a player of such pedigree for nothing strikes as a spectacular piece of business on the Hammers’ behalf, but look through the vain exoskeleton that tends to shroud such big name signings and it’s easy to see why this is a bad move for the east Londoners.
Song is a high-class player; of that there is no doubt.
Few would contest the notion he belongs at a higher level than West Ham and were the option to sign for a club of greater stature available, logic dictates he wouldn’t be returning David Sullivan’s phone calls, let alone listening to any offers he had designs on making.
Available for nothing and boasting much-craved home-grown status, there must be something in the fact that no suitor of appropriate status is interested in rivalling Slaven Bilic’s side for the signature of a fine footballer in his prime.
Song’s loan stint at Upton Park last season began in stellar fashion.
His performances were a key factor behind the run of results that propelled the Irons into the top four before Christmas.
But, as impressive as his first half of the campaign was, the second half brought a dramatic downturn in form where he was about as ineffectual as he had been brilliant during the pre-winter months.
His drop in standards coincided with West Ham’s own capitulation, suggesting Song lacks the mentality to sustain quality when results aren’t going well.
Questions concerning his attitude have oft been raised across his career and this would explain why Barcelona are so desperate to ship him out.
Arsenal didn’t create the fuss they customarily do when a main man is courted by a bigger financial force when the Catalan club signed Song in 2012, selling him without fanfare just three days after allowing Robin van Persie to join Manchester United amid suggestions surfacing Arsene Wenger was annoyed with his continued lack of commitment.
If West Ham find themselves in a sticky patch next season, Song isn’t the sort of character to heave them out of the soup and tying him down to a long, lucrative contract could have disastrous implications long term.