In one of the most talked-about moves of the summer, Alexander Hleb exited Arsenal after weeks of speculation regarding his future. On 16 July, Hleb finally got his desired move to Barcelona in a deal worth £12m that could rise to £13.5m. On the pitch, the skillful Belarusian was fairly respected. However, the manner in which he left Arsenal really aggravated the fans, claiming he wanted to leave due to London’s hectic lifestyle.
Since his departure, there has been an eruption of anger and bitterness towards the player. Most of the Arsenal faithful have lambasted Hleb’s inabilty to shoot from distance and general effectiveness in the team.
Arsenal have responded very well, signing French starlet Samir Nasri for around the same price. The youngster plays in the same position as Alexander Hleb and is seen as his direct replacement. Both have notable similarities in their technique, dribbling and pace.
In conclusion, I believe Nasri is a superb replacement and will go on to be a great asset in Arsene Wenger’s project. However, I also believe Arsenal fans are underestimating the impact Hleb had on the team, there are not many other players who are as technically gifted, skillful and composed as him. What he did not provide in goals, he made up for by being perfect in Arsenal’s quick passing and movement system.