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Friday, August 17, 2012
Alex Song leaves Arsenal for Barcelona

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Arsenal has agreed to transfer midfielder Alex Song to Barcelona.

The 24-year-old Cameroon international will now travel to the Nou Camp to work out personal terms and undergo a medical, Arsenal announced in a statement on their website.

Barcelona said in a statement the transfer fee for Song will be 19 million euros ($23.4 million).

Song will sign a five-year deal with a release clause of 80 million euros ($98.5 million), Barcelona said.

Song will have his physical on Monday before joining the team that night. Barcelona, which begins its La Liga campaign Sunday against Real Sociedad, faces Sampdoria in the friendly Joan Gamper Cup on Monday evening at the Nou Camp.

Arsenal, which Friday saw captain Robin van Persie move to Manchester United, began its Barclays Premier League campaign with a goalless home draw against Sunderland on Saturday.

Song sat the match out amid widespread speculation he was on the verge of a move to Barca.

After the match, Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger said Song had been keen on a move away from Emirates Stadium.

"He expressed a desire to go to Barcelona," Wenger said. "It is frustrating; we have learned to deal with that. I believe as well that the financial potential of some clubs is massive and that makes a difference."

Wenger, however, feels Arsenal has enough cover in midfield.

"We have (Jack) Wilshere coming back I believe in one and a half months. We have (Abou) Diaby back, we have (Tomas) Rosicky not far away and we might bring another midfielder in as well. You have to be patient a little bit."

Nicklas Bendtner is also expected to leave ahead of the transfer deadline. However, Wenger played down reports the player was set to move to Italy next week.

"He is likely to move, yes, but there is no deal done at all," Wenger said.

Arsenal also is trying to agree a new contract with forward Theo Walcott, Wenger told The Sun.

"We are still trying to extend his deal," Wenger told the newspaper. "When a player doesn't want to stay, you either force him or you let him go."

Walcott's current terms expire next summer and discussions have been ongoing during the preseason, with the Gunners keen to extend his stay at Emirates Stadium.

Song, primarily a defensive midfielder, joined the Gunners on loan from French club Bastia in August 2005 before Wenger made the move permanent at the end of the 2005-06 season.

In the following season, he spent the second half of the campaign on loan at Charlton before returning to Arsenal and subsequently establishing himself as a key member of Wenger's squad.

Song made 204 competitive appearances for Arsenal during his seven seasons at the club, scoring 10 goals.

If he completes his move to Barca, Song would become the La Liga club's second major signing of the summer after the capture of Spain center back Jordi Alba from Valencia.

Song also would be following a well-worn path to Barca, with Marc Overmars, Emmanuel Petit, Giovanni van Bronckhorst, Thierry Henry, Alexander Hleb and Cesc Fabregas having all moved from Arsenal to the Nou Camp during Wenger's reign.

Information from Press Association was used in this report.




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