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Alexander Hleb's Departure From Arsenal Not A Huge Loss

hleb arsenal Alexander Hleb's Departure From Arsenal Not A Huge LossSo Alexander Hleb has moved from Arsenal to Barcelona in a £11.9m transfer. While some Arsenal fans may fret about the loss, I’m not worried.

To me, Hleb isn’t a huge loss. When I first saw him play for the Gunners in a friendly match in the summer of 2005, I immediately liked the player and saw massive potential in him. He was breath of fresh air at the time. Unfortunately, though, he never quite lived up to his potential. Sure, he was an integral part of Arsenal’s squad but he lacked consistency. And, more importantly, he lacked the killer goalscoring touch knocking in just seven goals in his history with Arsenal.

Hleb’s departure from Arsenal to Barcelona reminds me of another foreigner who played in England and then was signed by a Spanish club. That man is former Arjen Robben who was signed by Real Madrid from Chelsea and was another naturally gifted winger, like Hleb.

Robben was another player that rose to prominence in England, showed flashes of brilliance but never quite achieved the top level of his game. In Madrid, Robben has fought his way into the side and scored four goals last season, which helped him contribute to Real’s 31st Spanish title in their history.

In the battle between Spain and England to acquire the best talent from around the world, the loss of Hleb and Robben doesn’t leave a gaping void in the Premier League. Both Hleb and Robben are replaceable. Arsenal’s new signing Samir Nasri will slot into the hole left by Hleb.

That said, it was a pleasure to see Alexander Hleb play in the Premier League. He was an important element of the attractive football that the Gunners continue to employ. I wish him the best of luck in Barcelona and look forward to seeing the Gunners take on the Catalan giants undoubtedly in a future Champions League match to see how Hleb has progressed after his move to Spain.

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About Christopher Harris

Founder and publisher of World Soccer Talk, Christopher Harris is the managing editor of the site. He has been interviewed by The New York Times, The Guardian and several other publications. Plus he has made appearances on NPR, BBC World, CBC, BBC Five Live, talkSPORT and beIN SPORT. Harris, who has lived in Florida since 1984, has supported Swansea City since 1979. He's also an expert on soccer in South Florida, and got engaged during half-time of a MLS game. Harris launched EPL Talk in 2005, which was rebranded as World Soccer Talk in 2013.
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25 Responses to Alexander Hleb's Departure From Arsenal Not A Huge Loss

  1. Tony Adams says:

    Hleb will not be missed. He is just a makak-faced nobody.

  2. Jon says:

    Surprise Surprise, another gooner blogg……any player that leaves our club was never any good anyway, and any player leaving Arsenal can only deteriorate his career, blah blah blah.
    You carry on kidding yourselves that you haven’t just lost another major player from an already weak squad. I’m sure Cesc is looking forward to the new season to see what spotty kid Wenger the winger will buy next.
    Whilst the club are luaghing whilst charging you boys the most expensive seats in the EPL and buying the cheapest nobodies they can find, you boys can carry on kidding yourselves. There there there……

  3. Tony Adams says:

    Suprise Suprise, another bitter Yiddo commenting on a goonerblog … any player that ever joins our club is never good enough to be a gooner anyway and you’ll never win the league. Blah blah blah.
    You carry on kidding yourselfs about that forth spot. I’m sure Darren Bent is the striker you need to get there. We’ll wait and see who your next overpriced signing is, while your club spirals into debt and your crappy stadium detiriates into further decay. There there…

  4. Harry Barracuda says:

    Jon, clearly you don’t know much about the workings of Arsenal football Club. We’re far more excited about Nasri’s potential than Hleb, who’s contribution in front of goal is negligible for all his skills. We got what we paid for him (with a clause for some extra), so we have no complaints.

    The blog was pretty impartial, but I’m afraid your petty sneering just shows how ignorant you are.

  5. Tony Adams says:

    Bitter yids make me laugh. Arguing with them is like holding a midget at arms-length. They really are pathetic.

  6. Jon says:

    Tony, not a yiddo at all and my team is out of your league so we can leave that one there.

    Harry, are you excited about Nasri the way you were excited a few months ago about having your own Gatusso? Oh sorry, he left too!

    The point is (quote) you are a selling club, so as soon as Nasri becomes half decent he will be sold or want to move to a bigger club who wants to win things not just stash money.

  7. Bitter Spuds says:

    I think spurs fans have an inferiority complex due to their lack of class, success, ability, foreskin etc…

  8. Tony Adams says:

    Jon- “My clubs out of your league.”

    (notice the failure to mention a name. (out of shame))

    You’re club’s non-league, you muppet.

  9. gaya says:

    yes am a gooner but it surprises me how everyone keeps expecting Hleb to score more goals. The stats are there for everyone to see. 19 goals in 170 aprs and am positive the Boss new this b4 he was brought to Arsenal where his total was 14 goals in 130 aprs. I might be wrong but i remember b4 last season started, the bos mentioned 2 midfielders he expected more goals from and Hleb wasnt included. i dont know about you guys but i will miss the skills he brought to the team.
    Also has any considered that reasons he left could also be the contract extension he was getting? He is 27 yrs with 2 yrs left. i strong believe he would have gotten an extra yr on his present contract to reach the 30 mark where we know what follows. Wiltord, Edu, Pires, etc
    Can anyone tell me which of Wengers buys as finished his career with Arsenaland how many of the present players you can predict will take the 1 yr rolling contract and why dont they have a write to think of their future?

  10. Tony Adams says:

    gaya – Hleb scored 10 goals in his three year Arsenal career. Ok he isn’t a goalscorer but he only assisted once every nine games.

  11. gaya says:

    Yes Tony i agree with you but my problem is losing exprience players and replaceing them with prospect and a greater worry is how long will it take to build this new team and stabilize it.
    last season we nearly got there but as they said we lacked in numbers. so what do we do? we let some more numbers go.
    that is my worry Tony. i dont mind the Ramseys and Nasris but when they get tired or the help from the bench who comes in? PROSPECT

  12. Lonnie says:

    Wenger has admitted in recent interviews that the strategy of the club is to sell established players every year and to buy less expensive players. He also said the main reason for that is that the club has to to free up – for about 17 more years – an annual surplus of £24million to pay for their new stadium.

    They also have to keep the overall wage bill at a reasonable level so any ‘stars’ looking for the big 100K/week deals are going to have to move on.

    The only way this tide will turn for the club is if they receive some heavy investment from someone like Stan Kroenke or another foreign interest. However, I like the approach Arsenal are taking at the moment. They are avoiding the whole ridiculous notion of chasing after ‘star’ players and work hard to develop young talent. It would be interesting to see them add a veteran or two on a free transfer just to have someone to mentor and/or take some of the pressure off the younger kids coming through.

    One that comes to mind would have been Ivan Klasnic, who was available on a free after he was released by Werder Bremen (The release was due to a dispute between the two over medical diagnosis of his kidney problems, the lawsuit Klasnic filed was settled but he still felt uncomfortable with the team doctor and wanted out.)

  13. Tony Adams says:

    The fact is that Ramsey will be Back-up not first team. Nasri will be backed by Rosicky and Vela and while he may be young he is not inexperienced.

    As for numbers – The players we have sold have quality replacements. Nasri has replaced Hleb, Ramsey has replaced Diarra and Flamini will be replaced. The growth and returns of Vela, Merida, Mannone, Fabianzki, Nordviet, Randall, Song, Djourou and Lansbury will strengthen the squad and previously injured players like van Persie, Eduardo and Rosicky will vastly improve it.

  14. ossie's dream says:

    Not sure about the comparison with Robben, Gaffer. Chelsea’s squad was, and still is, far deeper than Arsenal’s – and as long as the club is bolstered with Roman’s riches, it will continue to be so.

    Losing Hleb is a bigger blow to the Gunners than Robben’s transfer was to Chelsea. Nasri is something of an unknown quantity (although, it must be said, Wenger does have a knack of spotting gems and improving their game). But, a club of Arsenal’s stature should be aiming for the Premiership title, and losing players like Hleb, Flamini and very possibly Adebeyor, has to be seen as a step backwards. They should be hanging on to these players AND bringing in the likes of Nasri. But Wenger’s comments about the modern player being a mercenary demonstrate just how difficult that is.

  15. mike says:

    While moving to La Liga will probably suit Hleb’s style more (and reduce the number of wild challenges on his legs), I don’t see it working at Barca. They already have several similar players on the wings/supporting striker.

    As for his lack of goals, don’t forget that Hleb played a good part of last season as the supporting striker in a 4-5-1. So I think he did need to account for more than 4 goals last year.

    All of that said, Hleb’s control and dribbling were fantastic to watch. I loved it against Man U when he took the opening kickoff and went straight towards goal and beat three of four men right off the bat.

  16. Brian says:

    With Hleb leaving and now Gilberto Silva officially gone, aren’t Arsenal becoming a bit short on numbers?
    http://www.premiershiptalk.com/2008/07/gilberto-silva-signs-for-panathinaikos.html

  17. glad Hleb has gone says:

    I am glad he has gone – just like Ronaldo he is a bottler …. the problem with Hleb is that he gets into so many goal shootig oppurtunities then looks for a pass. Glad to see the back of him – jst wish he went to a crap team like Liverpool instead to further dilute their squad….

  18. Darren says:

    Another point about Robben. The four goals he did manage to score this past season were at the tailend of the season when Real Madrid had basically already won the title. Other than that, he was pretty much injured all season.
    As for replacing Flamini, I think Wenger won’t bother buying there and let Song and Diaby fight for that spot. (it is their natural position anyways)
    Hleb didn’t like playing wide left and wanted to play the supporting striker role where RVP would play (assuming he wasnt injured) forcing RVP to move wide left. Nasri will play anywhere on the field, most likely on the left flank with Walcott on the right (Hopefully!). I am excited for the season!

  19. Im not sad to see him go. He needed to score more. May the petit and overmars be with him. Im just jealous that he gets to get paid more and live in sunny barcelona with mojitos and beaches.
    I really need to figure out a new name for myself.
    Alex Song maybe.
    My name isnt even alex. I jsut think its a fitting transition. I think tomas rose-hickey is too drastic a change.
    Im also thinking of having it be Gary Lewin.

  20. Im more sad to see Gilberto go, but Im happy to see he got a good deal to end his career with some money and a nice city to play in.

  21. id like to see adebayor go though. he just needs to go.

    and it would be a good trasfer to get gareth barry. i think he would be a perfect partner to cesc. and we would only need to get a striker maybe santa cruz or hunterlaar.

    there. im done.

  22. Chad says:

    Hleb didn’t score goals, have that many assists, etc. However, being that he was a first-team member of the squad, he contributed to the chemistry of the team. Losing him and replacing him with another player means that chemistry will need to be rebuilt. This isn’t to say that it can’t be done, but it is still a hurdle.

  23. Jonny says:

    Short on numbers, Brian? Half of our team is midfielders…

    We’ve made an upgrade going from Hleb to Nsari, and not to mention a profit. It’s good business, and good managing all around. To argue with it is stupid…it’ll be clear next season when Nasri contributes more in a season than any of Hleb’s here.

    I love watching Hleb, but he was nothing more than a tease, who more often than not fell into highly inconsistent slumps and forgot which side he was playing for, lobbing away posession in the final third.

    The only scary thing about Hleb’s departure is the timing. Half of this midfield has been off loaded this off season, and shaken further with the departure of a senior member. Regardless, the concern of Gooners everywhere should be who is partnering with Cesc. Period.

  24. JLay says:

    I think Hleb was overrated, and Nasri will easily step into his shoes. You Gooners got a good one there, mark my words…

    I also have to take you to task Gaff, for the Robben comparison. Robben was a game changer that didn’t get as much playing time as he should have due to injury and Chelsea’s depth at the position. He was, and is a mercurial talent, capable of changing a game – I don’t see that in Hleb.

    If they really did nab Nasri for the 6m GBP I’ve seen tossed around, I think Arsenal made a very smart parts exchange. I’d probably take Nasri over Hleb straight up.

  25. Don't pwn me, bro says:

    As much as I dislike him, I must admit Robben is amazing. I really believe he would be a dominating player if he wasn’t made of glass and could stay on the pitch.

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