Listen to the World Soccer Talk Podcast review of the Premier League weekend (gameweek 17) »

MON, 12PM ET
JUV5
NAP6
MON, 3PM ET
STO0
CHE1
FRI, 7:45AM ET
CHE
WHU
FRI, 10AM ET
MUFC
NUFC
FRI, 10AM ET
BUR
LIV
FRI, 10AM ET
WBA
MCFC

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.


This entry was posted in General, Leagues: EPL and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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.
View all posts by Christopher Harris →