Hleb finally leaves Arsenal + the Wednesday Poll has spoken

Well, it finally, finally happened. Alex Hleb has officially left Arsenal. The Belorussian midfielder has joined for a fee around £12million and signed a four-year deal with the Spanish club. Hleb had the following to say about leaving Arsenal for Barcelona:

“I want to give my best for this club. I have realised a dream. My aim is to win many trophies. I am ready to play in any position, I am available to the the coach to play in any position, including goalkeeper.”

I wonder if he’s ready to play off the bench, because I have a feeling that that is where he is going to spending most of his time. Barcelona’s manager Pep Guardiola has already spoken of his desire to utilise Thierry Henry and Bojan Krcic to the fullest next season and with Samuel Eto’o and of course Lionel Messi on the books, Hleb is going to find it hard to get a starting spot.

But, fair play to him. He’s undoubtedly a very good player and although I never felt like Hleb realised his full potential with Arsenal I think he’ll suit the Spanish game. Although he acted like a bit of a prat while trying to weasel his way out of the club, I do wish Hleb good luck for the rest of the career. Yes, I am that nice a guy.

One man who perhaps will not wish Hleb all the best is Arsene Wenger. And even though the manager was professional enough to thank Hleb for his contribution, he also couldn’t refrain from taking a sly dig at the Belorussian:

“We must firstly thank Alex for his contribution towards Arsenal Football Club during his time with us. Alex played a significant role in the three seasons he was with the Club. We are comfortable with our decision to let him go and we are all looking forward to continuing our preparations for the new season ahead.”

Heh, heh, heh. “We are comfortable with our decison”. Classic.

In other words, “We can afford to let you go because you are not as important to the side as you once were.” Which is a fair point to make when you consider the club has just signed Samir Nasri and also has Cesc Fabregas, Tomas Rosicky, Theo Walcott and Carlos Vela on their books. Oh yes, there will certainly be life after Hleb.

Indeed, combining the five players mentioned above with the quartet of out-and-out strikers at the club – Emmanuel Adebayor, Robin van Persie, Eduardo and Nicklas Bendtner – illustrates just how much variety and quality is in the current squad. If Wenger can make the appropriate defensive adjustments then I have every belief that Arsenal can challenge for the title again next season.

In today’s other major news story, Gilberto Silva has moved a step closer to signing for Panathinaikos after flying over to Greece for a medical. I spoke about my feelings on Gilberto’s exit yesterday and you can read them here if you are interested. Otherwise, there’s not much more to say on the issue.

Before I go today I want to reveal the final results from the first Wednesday Poll that was also included in yesterday’s post. The question I posed was: “Do Arsenal need to sign a new Vidic-like centre-back?”.

There were 282 votes and a massive 254 (90%) of you agreed that Arsenal do need to make a signing, while only 28 (10%) of you said it was not necessary. So there you go, Arsene, the fans have spoken. Get out there and bring in the new Tony Adams!

Well I’m done for the day. The weekend is nearing so hold on for dear life until then. Cheers.

Have your say on Hleb or Gilberto’s exits or yesterday’s poll by leaving a comment.



  1. The Wednesday poll has spoken indeed. It is now rather clear that we need not only a new centreback, but a new centre midfielder. Diaby, Denilson and even Song can step up – of that I have no doubt, but it’s not enough. Flamini and Gilberto – two of our best centre mids are now gone and I think it’s time to bust out the cheque-book Arsene. Steal Barry from Liverpool just as they stole Babel from us… 😛
    Lehmann, Flamini, Hleb and Gilberto – that’s four first team players gone. And only one signed – Nasri, as I don’t see Ramsey getting any premier league time. That’s not good… Although I like the idea of Walcott14 (hehe) getting more starting time, and some more young players coming through – it’s just not enough… I am still content with the squad and I am even more optimistic than ever that we can win something. But there is still a niggling little part of me that sees this new season as a “what should have been”…

  2. @ Grant – You make a good point about us losing four established players but I think you maybe underestimate the players coming through.

    Walcott will start the season on the right and should stay there, Nasri should start as well and I think Vela is closer to a starting spot than most people think. While I do think we need a centre-back and certainly a centre-midfielder I also believe if we get both then we’re in a better position than we were in last season.

    Especially if we hold on to Ade…

  3. I agree with Spanish fly. We have seen time after time that we think we have our backs against the wall, and some youngster steps up. Is anyone honestly trying to tell me that with Vela, Nasri, a more mature Walcott, and Bentdner, we are NOT better than last year? I know we need an experienced defensive mid, but Wenger knows this too. That’s why the stories about Alonso and Barry. By the way, the defensive midfield capable players we have right now are: Diaby, Denilson, Djourou, Toure, Song and Ramsey. They wld play it differently but they can play it. I’m not worried. I just want Adebayor to go.

  4. @ ALI – Good info. Are you from Uzbekistan too??

    That’s a strange move for Eto’o but one which was predicted. Any idea how much the transfer fee was?

  5. Good luck to Gilberto. He’s a class act and has been a great player for Arsenal. With Arsene’s over 30 policy its a move he had to make. Strangely enough, although he wasn’t at his best last year, I’m gonna miss the little f….r.

  6. It is good that hleb finaly depart. He was given oportunity to play in positions to score goals but.he manage only 4.we need players that score more

  7. AW wont go for any of the holding midfielders being linked to the club (Alonso, Barry..). They are just too expensive.

    Just like he brought us Edwardo, my gut feeling is that he’s gonna unearth another unknown midfielder from the middle of nowehere.

  8. No player is indispensable. Departure of alex does not mean arsenal wont be able to compete. I salute wenger 4 letting him go unlike some who will not allow some player to ‘cos they know the player is the one that bring them success m d

  9. Hleb has not exatly endeared himself to Arsenal fans and I doubt anyone is that upset to see him go. I used to appreciate what Hleb offers as there isn’t really anyone like him, and I mean that in a good way. But his treatment of the club has been atrocious and I am more excited by the prospect of Nasri now.

    I don’t think Wenger will sign anyone in CM or CB, and I think the vast majority of Arsenal fans would deem this to be a mistake. The options are there, they may be expensive but we’re talking about a manager who makes a profit in the transfer market every season. Wenger has the opportunity to bring in players who aren’t world class and aren’t all that skillful, but they are the players that we NEED. Woodgate would have been a fantastic signing in January, lets not lose some other players that would significantly improve our squad and provide the balance that we need to win trophies.

  10. Hleb you bastard! I wonder how much time it will take you to complain to guiordola that you want more playing time, you’re not in the proper position. Where is your next move going to be? I’m sorry I just find it troubling and realize why Arsenal couldn’t get it done last season. Too many individuals not enough team spirit. Hleb was not the only individual…Flamini, Ade. Three big players last year who even though played exceptional if they were a little less self involved may have gotten us silverware?

  11. @ TDP – I agree completely with what you are saying, particularly this bit about Hleb:

    “I used to appreciate what Hleb offers as there isn’t really anyone like him, and I mean that in a good way. But his treatment of the club has been atrocious and I am more excited by the prospect of Nasri now.”

    I wouldn’t have minded if Hleb stayed on because he is such a unique player, but now he’s gone I’m not overly bothered over. Nasri will be an exciting player to watch.

  12. If AW is going to buy a CB, I would like it to be someone like David Wheater. He is big and has the potential to physically control the penalty area. He has better pace than Senderos and should not cost too much, even though he is English.

    This might also allow Djourou to enter the mix to replace Flamini and Gilberto. That is the position he played while on loan and one that he has said that he is comfortable playing.

  13. Has anyone seen Hleb kissing the Barca badge? It was a sickening sight.This guy is a rat he has no values at all. cheap piece of shit What a BASTARDO. By contrast Gilberto what a man loyal as ever he left the club quietly without uttering a word to the press a fantastic man. Arsenal have rewarded his loyalty and allowed him to go on a free Ken friar ha said they had offers for him and could’ve cashed in on him but they didn’t instead they let him go and get the best deal for himself and that loyalty returned.Thank you very much Gilberto.according to Arsenal he is called in Brazil “The invisible wall” what a fitting nickname for a great character.

  14. yeah le gunner I saw that picture and it turned my stomach but in all fairness hleb was the most fouled player over last season in our team and he would be suited to the spanish league but whats happening about bischof as he said ages ago he’s coming and stil no word from anyone else maybe another quieter version of the nasri saga. Also what about that aussie from sydney fc that had a trial with us as it would be great to see an aussie in our team as we should get more games on fox.

  15. i dont think Bischoff is going to sign (Woo!), i havent seen the picture but i dont like the sound of it. Gilberto good luck in Greece you have been great to Arsenal and we Love You!

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