Opinion: Alex Song revelations shed new light on Arsenal sales

Alex Song spoke very honestly about his motivations for leaving Arsenal.

By now you’ve probably seen the Alex Song interview in which he opened up on his financial motivations for leaving Arsenal for Barcelona.

At the time, Song’s departure was a major blow, even if it was somewhat overshadowed by star striker Robin van Persie also leaving that summer for a controversial move to rivals Manchester United.

And yet, looking now at what Song’s main focus seemed to be at Arsenal, it looks like it was very much the right decision to part company with him as soon as the opportunity presented itself.

“I would go to training and see Thierry Henry – the King – turn up in an absolute gem of a car. I told myself I wanted the same car at all costs,” the Cameroonian was quoted by the Sun.

“I went to the dealership, signed the papers and arranged to pay for it by standing order – and just like that I had the same car as The King.”

He added: “During my entire time at Arsenal I couldn’t even save £100,000, while people thought I must be a millionaire.

“When Barcelona offered me a contract, and I saw how much I would earn, I didn’t think twice. I felt my wife and children should have comfortable lives once my career is over.

“I met Barca’s sporting director, and he told me I would not get to play many games. But I didn’t give a f*** – I knew that now I would become a millionaire.”

Just to be clear – we’re not here to judge Song for putting money and the financial security of his family first, and many footballers will do so in what is a short career, but it’s also still clear this means he’s not the kind of player we should be keeping around.

Song’s comments very much suggest he was focused on the wrong things throughout his time at the Emirates Stadium – he looked at a legendary figure like Thierry Henry and thought about his car; he was told he wouldn’t play at Barcelona but he still jumped at the chance to move. That’s his choice to make, but it’s probably not the same choice players like Henry himself would make, or other great characters like Tony Adams, Patrick Vieira, Dennis Bergkamp, and countless others.

We’re lucky at Arsenal to have had so many great players and leaders at the club, but we’ve also had to put up with a number of heartbreaking departures down the years.

Still, with Song being so brutally honest about his experience, it certainly sheds some light on the players we did end up selling. Particularly under Arsene Wenger, you have to trust that there was more going on behind the scenes than we knew about, and that, you would hope, Wenger knew when it was the right moment to say goodbye.

The likes of Henry and Cesc Fabregas will no doubt have had quite different reasons for their moves to Barcelona, but all must be respected as much as Song’s. From Arsenal’s point of view, whatever reason a player has for losing their motivation to give it their all in a red and white shirt, that’s our cue to move them on and build around those who can be more loyal.

Tags Alex Song

11 Comments

  1. GunneRay says:

    Typical really. Another player who now admits that he was more focused on the £££ and not the ball!

    I’m sorry, but a real “professional” footballer wants to play football. FULL STOP! The best players over the years have been good at what they do and get payed well for it. Song was never a “great” player so I guess I’m not surprised by his attitude. Although, maybe he would have gone further in his career had he been more focused becoming a better footballer and not another money grabbing waste of Arsene Wenger’s time!?

  2. jon fox says:

    The sobering truth is that not merely Alex Song but the vast majority of modern young players with false values based on money and status rather thsn professional pride, are ALSO ” not the kind of player we should be keeping around”!

    IN OTHER WORDS MOST OF TODAYS YOUNGER FOOTBALL PLAYERS – NOT ALL, BUT A MAJORITY – ARE NOT RIGHT FOR ARSENAL AND NOT RIGHT FOR THE PROFESSION THEY SHAME. Sobering but true my friends.

    This is precisely WHY I am falling out of love with modern football. I love the game, the 90 minutes but in most cases actively feel little but pity for the empty heads of MOST young players and fear for their life values. It is impossible to respect or admire all but a minority of them.

  3. David Rusa says:

    The Song situation is not a unique one. As Jon has observed, many modern day footballers are in the Song category even though they will not admit it openly. This is part of the society we live in where values and morals have gone down the drain! Perhaps the corona virus, tragic though it is, will be a sobering experience to us all! How can someone who calls himself a professional opt for a team where he knows he will be on the bench most of the time just for the sake of money? Isn’t this the true negation of professionalism? What these fellows forget is the reality that once you are a bench warmer your career will end earlier than if you were a regular player. Besides no club will give a serious contract to such characters. That is why the likes of Song have become globe trotters with no serious club willing to buy them. In the end such plsyers move from riches to rags! So greedy fellows beware!

    1. sk says:

      I largely agree with your sentiments sir but I also wonder whether a football player sacrificing game time in order to secure his families future counts as “morals and values going down the drain”. we’re all passionate about the game to differing degrees but as the corona virus has shown us…its just a game or more precisely it’s just a job/income for the players.

      1. SueP says:

        In many cases I’d agree but he spent rather too much money on keeping up with the Joneses instead of looking after his family first

  4. Sue says:

    Fair play for admitting it, but I’m shocked by this! Who in their right mind wants to spend most of their time warming the bench?? Just goes to show how happy some of them are to rake in thousands every week for doing next to nothing for it!! I’ve just looked on wikipedia, in 4 years he played 39 times….
    I bet he was gutted when at West Ham then, they more than likely saw him as some sort of messiah and played him every minute 😂😂
    It’s safe to say after he left us, it went downhill…..

    1. SueP says:

      And Sue he got sacked from his last club in Switzerland for refusing to take a pay cut due to coronavirus. It’s difficult to have sympathy but you made me laugh with your West Ham joke

      1. Sue says:

        Correct Sue…and he’s registered a case of unfair dismissal with FIFA 🙄

  5. Gabo says:

    Too easy to call Alex all sorts at a time Arsenal board members paid themselves crazy dividends.
    He dared to dream for himself & his family. In his country, there are no WELFARE BAILOUTS if you fall on hard times.

  6. Joseph Adu says:

    Have been following this site for over Ten years this is my first post and so happy to part of it has a Gunner fan, concerning Alex Song he did the right thing cause his Family should be his first priority

    1. Joseph Adu says:

      Thanks

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