Arsenal Manager Arsene Wenger has confirmed the sale of holding midfielder Alex Song to Barcelona for $24 million. So, it's official, for two years running Arsenal have lost two players who, arguably, were the two best performers of the preceding season.
As I've noted before, I think the loss of Song creates a bigger problem for the Gunners than the loss of RvP, mainly because Song's combination of size, strength, ability to read the game, and passing ability. In today's draw, Abu Diaby, who shares Song's size and strength, left a number of passes short. Whether he'll stay in that position or Wenger dips into the transfer market to find a more adequate replacement - M'Vila is still available - remains to be seen. Or perhaps Aaron Ramsey might fit into the holding midfielder role.
While Arsenal are certainly in better shape as a team for the start of this season as compared with a year ago, they are still starting it unsettled, with a lot of work to do to build a cohesive group that can play well together on the pitch. It's another bit challenge for the manager.