For any West Ham fan, having a player of the calibre of Alex Song, who has previously been at Arsenal and won the Champions League with Spanish giants Barcelona, is a huge honour.
After the former Cameroon international arrived on a season long loan at the start of last season, Song was nothing short of superb.
This was the time that everyone at West Ham was calling to make his loan deal a permanent one, but at the time Sam Allardyce was reluctant to pay the £15m asking price.
However, Big Sam may have called it right not to tie Song down to a long term contract. Since the second half of the 2014/2015 Premier League campaign, Song has not been his former self and the cries to convince Song to stay when the Hammers move into the Olympic Stadium have dried up.
As a result, Song is no longer the first name on the team sheet as the likes of Cheikhou Kouyate, Pedro Obiang and captain Mark Noble are deservedly ahead of him in the pecking order. Song has even been demoted to playing in development squad fixtures.
For a player who is on loan from the biggest and best club in world football to be struggling to get in a team like West Ham, something can’t be right.
After re-signing on a temporary basis at the start of the 2015/2016 season, the former Charlton Athletic loanee had just received surgery on his ankle, ruling him out for the first two months of the season.
However, even though he has still has a considerable amount of match fitness, Song still doesn’t look like he has fully recovered.
We all know about Song’s off-field commitments to his own clothing brand and, even recently, after suffering a minor eye injury, the protective mask is not up to scratch with Song’s high standards, instead opting for ‘Edgar Davids’ style glasses.
It’s extremely creditable that a player is working on other ventures while playing football, but does this mean that Song isn’t fully committed to his performance on the pitch rather than making a profit off it and is he using football as a fashion or business statement?
Noble is virtually undroppable because he is the skipper, while Kouyate has shown magnificent quality throughout the season – and even Obiang’s solid performances in claret and blue could be a the fundamental reason why Song is struggling.
As many of the squad show what Song should be doing, bagging the centre midfielder on a free transfer in the summer would be a good option to take up.
However, splashing the cash on him is not worth it and bringing through youngster Josh Cullen, who has bags of potential and a Republic of Ireland U19 international, will well and truly revive the ‘Academy of Football’ tag famously associated with West Ham United.