Thursday, July 10, 2008

Hleb Almost to Spain

Barcelona are expected to announce the signing of Arsenal midfielder Alexander Hleb on a four-year contract on Monday.

Hleb's future at the Emirates Stadium has been uncertain since the end of last season and he has also been linked with a move to Italian champions Inter Milan.

Barcelona have held a long-standing interest in the 27-year-old Belarussian and he is understood to be travelling to Spain to undergo a medical after the two clubs reportedly agreed a £13.3 million fee. Barcelona will pay £11.9 million immediately, with the rest of the money dependent on trophies won.

Earlier this week, Hleb told Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger he was "mentally tired" of living in London and playing high-level football at the same time.

In an interview in Russia, the Belarus international said: "I can't get used to the chaotic way of life in London, where everyone is racing around 24 hours a day. It is uncomfortable and I'm mentally tired. I told Wenger that at our two recent meetings.

"I was seeking his advice on whether I should leave the team. I also made no secret of the fact that some leading European clubs were interested in me."
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Hleb said he was committed to leaving and he hoped to move to Barcelona. "Serious negotiations are under way now. I have made up my mind."

Hleb joined Arsenal from VfB Stuttgart for £11.2 million in 2005. He scored only 10 goals in his three seasons at Arsenal.

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