When Alex Song first played for Arsenal, I worried for us each time he touched the ball.
A spell at Charlton seemed to help but it has only been the unavailability of personnel this season that has given him his chance.
With the departure of Gilberto and Mathieu Flamini, there was a position alongside Cesc Fabregas which needing filling and when the transfer window came and passed, Song’s chance should have been there for the taking.
Denilson may have made more appearances but he is less of a ball-winner and more of an all-round midfielder. I still think our Brazilian has a way to go to be worthy of regular Arsenal football, but I’m actually starting to see similarities between him and Xabi Alonso, the Liverpool Spaniard we are supposed to be after.
But watching Song again against Wigan, I was infuriated by how timid he is.
From the first moment Patrick Vieira made his debut at Highbury against Sheffield Wednesday, you could tell we had someone on our books who was capable of dominating games and imposing himself.
With Vieira in the side, opponents knew they were in a game, even if in his early years, he was too easy to wind up.
Never afraid to put in a tackle or ruffle a few feathers, he was a warrior who allowed our flair players to attack safe in the thought that he was there to cover for them defensively.
While the Patrick Vieiras of this world are few and far between, even Gilberto and Flamini had a tenaciousness that provided cover for the defence and helped build in midfield. Song lacks that presence, and it’s nothing to do with his stature.
When he is on the ball, he wants to make simple passes, which is better than hopeless long passes, but never have I seen him take a game by the scruff of the neck and give the impression that he is going to boss it.
That is what Cesc Fabregas needs and what Wenger must hope Song develops as he plays more in the first team. The Cameroonian needs to take a look at a few Vieira performances to see what he is lacking and roll up his sleeves and realise what it takes to be a defensive midfielder.
If he can’t start to make himself a focal point of the game, intimidating opponents and making them work hard, rather than just doing a minimalist role where you hardly notice he is there, Wenger really does need to go after a new enforcer in January.
This is nothing to do with being fickle.
I was there when Paddy played against Sheffield Wednesday and for most of his matches. He made an instant impact. He bossed games.
Wenger's success was on protecting an ageing back four with great midfielders who could cover. Now we have a creaking back four who equally need protection.
Song is not good enough and with Villa and City having the team and/or funds to really push us, we can't afford to experiment.
Song has had three years in England now, long enough or prove his worth or get out. When Flamini got a run at left back and central midfield, he showed what he could do. We don'thave time to wait another year for Song to start asserting himself.
We need a defensive midfielder NOW.