Arsenal have confirmed on the club's official website that terms have been agreed with FC Barcelona for the transfer of midfielder Alex Song to the Catalan club, in an amazing bit of timing, announcing it 5 minutes after Arsenal's scoreless opener against Sunderland. The player will travel to the coast of Spain for a medical and to sign his new deal soon to finalize the deal.
As noted yesterday, Song met with Wenger and asked to be allowed to leave the club, and Wenger wasted no time on making that happen. Jamie Sanderson noted in his report that the fee is likely to be somewhere near £17 million, which is quite a good deal for Arsenal, who originally paid just £400,000 for Song when he joined from Bastia.
Of course, replacements will be necessary, and to that end, Arsene Wenger has been working on the possible move for Nuri Sahin from Real Madrid, as well as preparing a dossier on other potential more defensive midfielders:
I'm told Arsène Wenger called Nuri Sahin earlier. Personal touch has worked. He would be cover, but Arsenal also want proper DM.— Jamie Sanderson (@YoungGunsBlog) August 17, 2012
Names such as Etienne Capoue, Yann M'Vila, and Lucas Biglia continue to float through the Arsenalsphere. For now, losing Song comes as a bit of a blow insofar as having an understanding with his midfielder partners Aaron Ramsey, Tomas Rosicky, and Mikel Arteta goes. However, Song is not irreplaceable, and Wenger has shown a ruthless streak this summer dealing with players who are not 100% committed to Arsenal, preferring to cash in and bring in new players who are willing to be more on board. This move does leave Arsenal with precious little in terms of defensively-minded midfielders, but Song himself had started to become more attack-minded last year, and there were often questions about his positioning and defensive nous. Replacing his strength in the center will take some work, though.
Overall, this is a blow to Arsenal, but not one from which it will be impossible to recover from in either this window or the first few months of the season.