Hleb signs for Barcelona for £14.5m

It's a good deal considering that he could have invoked the Webster clause and move for about £6m. It's a deal that means we've made a slight profit on the player who has been indifferent in an Arsenal shirt. Sometimes mesmerising, sometimes awful.

We've signed Samir Nasri and Aaron Ramsey, two exciting young wingers, so it's maybe time the Belarussian moved on...

This is what the Barcelona site reported:

While Seydou Keita will become the first player from Mali to represent Barça, Hleb will be the first Belorussian to play for the club. In fact, there has only ever been one player from the former Soviet Union to play for the Blaugrana as Igor Korneiev appeared during the 1994-95 campaign.

And their article continued:

Hleb will bring versatility

Aleksandr Hleb will bring technique, strength and awareness to Barça in the 2008-09 season after perfecting his craft during successful spells with VfB Stuttgart and Arsenal.

The latest Blaugrana signing, who was born in Minsk 27 years ago on May 1, 1981, is the second midfielder to join this summer after the club bought Seydou Keita from Sevilla. Able to play with both feet, Hleb will give Pep Guardiola different options with his versatility.

Making a name

Hleb moved to the Bundesliga in 2000-01 when he left FC BATE Borisov to join VfB Stuttgart. That is where he began to make his name and spent five seasons with the club.

Growing with the Gunners

In 2005, Arsenal moved to sign him and he quickly became an integral part of the Gunners’ side. In 2007-08, he helped the team perform well as part of a midfield combination alongside Cesc Fàbregas and Mathieu Flamini. For two seasons at Arsenal, he played alongside Thierry Henry, who he will now team up with again at Camp Nou.

Playing in Paris

Alongside Henry in 2006, Hleb played for Arsenal in the Champions League final against Barcelona in Paris. After a game in which he stood out, the Belarussian was substituted for José Antonio Reyes in the 85th minute.


We wish Hleb all the luck at Barcelona, something similar to the demise of Thierry Henry… I mean performances of Henry, I mean…

With the “bad apples” gone or going, we’ll surely be stronger next season… More later…

Update: Interesting facts from Setanta:

This is how Hleb performed with us over the last three seasons..

Season Games Goals Assists
2005/06 25 3 0
2006/07 33 2 4
2007/08 31 2 6
Total 89 7 10

And we actually win more and score more with Hleb…

Arsenal in the league With Hleb Without Hleb
Win % 54% 60%
Goals/game 1.70 1.86

This is surely a very good deal for us!]]>

  • Narion

    Finally, and a half decent profit to boot.

  • devday

    Nelse/Sentanta: Hleb’s departure shouldn’t worry Arsenal or the gooners faithful as the signing of Nasri will more than compensate as for me Nasri is a better player at a younger age. i had to laugh when Hleb verbally attacked Cesc Fabregas as being ‘selfish’ and would shoot rather than pass. Hlebs idea of a goal is to dribble the ball past the goal line. At times when the best option is to shoot he always looks for another pass. So to criticise Fabregas is laughable when most are egging Cesc to score more goals. No sleep to be lost over his departure.