Alexandre Dimitri Song Billong, born 9 September 1987 in a Cameroon, fondly known by most as Alex Song. He’s the nephew of Rigobert Song and plays in the heart of a midfield three at our fine club.
It is only now though that he is regarded as an important first team player for Arsenal by some, and I am firmly in that category.
Alex hasn’t had an easy life, but then who truly has, but he lost his father at just 3yrs old, and from then on his uncle Rigobert became a huge influence on his life, and his love to become a footballer.
He married at just 18yrs old and is now the proud father of two. Back home he has millions of siblings 🙂
In 2003/4 Song joined the youth team at Bastia and he must have impressed the management as the following year he played a big part in the first team, making 34 appearances.
Many overseas clubs had a scout or two keeping an eye on him, clubs such as Inter Milan, Manchester United, Lyon and Middleborough, but it was our boss who got in there first and took him on loan during the 2005/6 season. Arsene obviously saw something back then. The following season he signed for Arsenal for just £1M. Looking back now, what a bargain! He was only 20yrs old!
Until last season, Song has always been a ‘bit part’ the sub that came on and then got ridiculed for his performances. Prior to that, he had loan spell at Charlton.
For us he played at CB, CM and generally kept a bit part role when players were injured or just needed a rest.
I don’t think many of us honestly believed he would ever become a regular; I used to think he would be a ‘Grimandi’, the squad bod that never really stated a claim in the team.
Then suddenly his career seemed to begin to get going, late in 2007 he was named in the 2008 Cameroon side for The African Cup of Nations, and he made his debut against Egypt coming on from the bench, and how good it must have felt for him to be playing alongside his Uncle Rigobert… Cameroon lost the game, but I bet Alex soon got over it!
He played in the Cameroon defence during the following games, but got injured in the final, funny enough against Egypt, the team where it all began.
Alex had played so well, he was named in the best eleven for the tournament. Maybe it was then that some of us opened our eyes a little bit and started taking him seriously.
That same year, 2008, Song was slotted into the midfield for his club, and we all know he was not the choice of the fans. His season didn’t start so well, the slating was cruel, sometimes justified, but often harsh.
But as the season went by, he got stronger and stronger and I personally started to worry a lot less when his name was on the team sheet to start. He even nabbed himself a couple of goals against Fenerbachce and Wigan. Added to that he is not a bad CH either, in fact I would trust him more than Senderos or Silvestre, but at the heart of our midfield is where I hope he stays..
This season I think he has started very strong, so much so when I don’t see his name on the team sheet I begin to worry, and on Sunday against Wolverhampton Wanderers proved just why. Until Song came on we were being beaten in midfield. There was little ‘in there’ take control, keep the ball and then let the ball do the work. Diaby proved that right now he is not able to play the role that Song can.
Song came on and we began to control the midfield, the game and the result.
Song is off soon, and I really worry – really worry. Who on earth is capable of playing alongside Cesc, who is there that will allow our Captain to play with such freedom, most importantly, who will Cesc trust to cover him on his Gump Runs???
Right now, my answer is we have no-one! If Arsenal are to buy only one player in January, surely it has to be a player like Song, doesn’t it?
Diaby – well maybe his day will come, he is still very young, Song was very young once, but look at him now.
Mr Reliable! Now who would have ever thought that……….