Alex Song admits both he and Cesc wanted Arsenal return
Arsenal is my family. I will see the people that I know well again. It is the club that grew me up. I arrived there at the age of 17. It will be quite a special match, notably because I will be playing against Arsène. It will be the first time. He educated me, he always defended me when things were going badly. But we must win. Because, if they do, they move ahead of us.
I stayed [at Arsenal] for a long time, but didn’t win anything. Each year, we lost our best players: Cesc, Robin, Samir… If the club had kept everyone, Arsenal would have been the [Premier League] champions. Then, I had the option to go to Barca. You don’t turn that down. The saying goes that the train only comes once.
I knew that it wasn’t going to be easy [to get playing time at Barca]. I arrived into the best team in the world. But I didn’t think I would play so little. I said to myself, in 50 games, if I played 20, 25 that would be good. It didn’t go like I wanted it to. I just wasn’t part of the manager’s choice. It was difficult.
No [going to Barca wasn't a mistake]. I learnt a lot. I am a much more mature player. Without being disrespectful to La Liga, the training sessions at Barca are of a higher level than the matches. You’re playing everyday against Messi, Xavi, Sanchez, Fabregas…
I would have liked to come back [to Arsenal], but they didn’t want me. That’s life. I’m not mad at them. Cesc also wanted to come back to Arsenal, who did not want to activate their buy-back clause. It was surprising. When I see what he is doing at Chelsea he is even better than before!
I could have played Champions League in Italy, with Napoli or Roma, in Turkey. I could have played in France too, with Marseille. But my priority was to return to England. For me as well as my family. We like it here. I have found a club that I didn’t know very well but where things are going quite well.
I try to bring what I can [to West Ham]. I do not know how to play in a team where the balls go over my head. I told [Allardyce]: 'If you’re bringing me here to play kick and rush football, then I’m not joining!' He reassured me, I said ok.
Yes [I want Champions League football]! But not at Barcelona. My future will be in England.