ALEX Song has revealed that he was keen to return to Arsenal in the summer before joining West Ham.
The 27-year-old moved to Upton Park on a season-long loan from Barcelona in August after struggling to establish himself as a first-team regular at the Spanish club.
Barcelona also allowed Cesc Fabregas to leave for Chelsea in the summer and Song is surprised that Arsenal passed up the chance to re-sign the midfielder.
“I would have liked to go back [to Arsenal] but they did not want to,” Song told 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 faces his former club on Sunday as West Ham host Arsenal at Upton Park and the midfielder believes that Arsene Wenger’s side would have won the Premier League title if they had kept hold of Fabregas, Robin van Persie and Samir Nasri.
“Arsenal is a family,” said the Cameroonian. “I will see people who I know well. This is the club that made me grow up; I arrived there at the age of 17.
“It will be a special match, including playing against Arsene. He has educated me and he always defended me when it went wrong.
“I stayed there a long time but I didn’t win anything. Each year we were losing our best players: Cesc, Robin, Samir. If the club had kept everyone, Arsenal would have been champions.”
Song joined Barcelona from Arsenal in August 2012 but started only 29 games in La LIga during his two seasons in Spain before he left the club.
“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.”