Alex Song: I wanted to return to Arsenal, but they did not want me

The midfielder eventually joined West Ham on loan

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The Independent Football

West Ham loanee Alex Song will face his former side Arsenal at Upton Park today, and the Cameroonian, one of the standout performers in the Premier League this season, says he would have liked to return to the Gunners this summer - but they did not want him.

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Song moved to Upton Park on a season-long loan in August, and just like Cesc Fabregas, who has also excelled at Chelsea this season, says that Arsenal turned down the opportunity to re-sign him.

"I would have liked to go back [to Arsenal] but they did not want to," Song was quoted in L'Equipe.

"That's life. Cesc Fabregas also wanted to return to Arsenal but they did not want to exercise their option. It is surprising when you see what he is doing at Chelsea. He is stronger than before.

"I could play in the Champions League in Italy, Napoli, Roma, or in Turkey. I could have played for Marseille but my priority was to return to England, for me and the family. I discovered a club that I did not know but it's working well."

Song made 179 appearances for Arsenal between 2005 and 2012, before leaving to join Barcelona for £15m. The 27-year-old says joining the La Liga giants was like a "train he could not miss". He started only 29 league matches for them.

Arsene Wenger brought Song to Arsenal when he was just 17

"I had the opportunity to go to Barca and I could not refuse. It's said that the train only passes through once," said the midfielder.

"I arrived in the best team in the world but I didn't think I would play as little as I did. I told myself that, in 50 matches, if I played 20, 25 games, it would have been okay. 

"It did not happen as I wanted but I learned a lot. I'm a more mature player."