Arsene Wenger believes Alex Song needs to show patience at Barcelona.
The Cameroon international was an unknown when the Arsenal coach brought him to England in 2005, taking him on loan from Bastia before paying just £1million to make the move permanent. Song spent a total of seven years at the Emirates Stadium, and was particularly impressive when helping the Gunners to third place last season.
It was something of a surprise, then, when Wenger agreed to sell the midfielder to Barca in the summer for a fee of £15million. Unlike Robin van Persie, who was in the final year of his deal when he left for Manchester United at the same time, Song had no immediate contractual issues with the Londoners, which made his departure all the more of a shock.
The 25-year-old, perhaps understandably, has struggled to make an impact in the star-studded Camp Nou side. He has featured in seven of their 10 UEFA Champions League matches so far, but in less than half of their La Liga fixtures. Inevitably, this has led to speculation that he could be on his way out when the window reopens.
It was suggested earlier this week that Arsenal have a clause allowing them first bite at his signature should be become available, and with Abu Diaby again suffering from injury this season, they were considering making an offer. However, Wenger has dismissed such an option exists, and has advised Song to bide his time in Catalonia.
“There is no buy-back [clause] in his contract,” said the French coach ahead of the trip to Fulham on Saturday. “He is a quality player and sometimes the players have to insist when it doesn’t go well and not change his mind too soon. My personal advice for him would be to give it another go and after two seasons he can still make a decision.”