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Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Hleb becomes Barcelona’s fifth signing (photos and video) but Arsenal’s fourth midfielder to leave


By 1970’s Gooner

Alexander Hleb will become tomorrow the fifth player signed by Barcelona this transfer window.

New Barca boss Pep Guardiola has already recruited defenders Daniel Alves (Sevilla), Martin Caceres (Villarreal) and Gerard Pique (Manchester United) as well as midfielder Seydou Keita (Seville).

He has already told Eto’o he can go and agreed to Ronaldinho’s transfer to AC Milan (which happened today) and Deco’s to Chlesea.

Hleb arrived at Barcelona’s premises this afternoon where he posed for photos before undergoing medical tests. The official Barca site states that he will sign tomorrow.

You can watch Hleb at Barca’s premises on the video window on the right hand side of this page.

He will cost an initial £12 m rising to £13.5m for a three year deal depending on the club's success. The buy-out clause in Hleb's contract with Barca has been set at a staggering £71m!

Hleb said that it was a dream of his to play for Barcelona:

It is "a dream" to be able to sign for the Blaugrana."I really like this team. I love it. I will give my best"

Hleb is the fourth Arsenal midfielder to leave Arsenal this season.

First there was Diarra to portsmouth (for £5m) then it was Flamini for free to AC Milan, today Gilberto arrived at Athens and is about to put pen to paper tomorrow to a three year contract offered by Panathinaikos (£1.2m for Arsenal). And now Hleb.

Total transfer fees received amount to about £20m.

The worrying thing is that an already thin squad is getting thinner and thinner.

Samir Nasri and Aaron Ramsey have arrived who are both exciting midfielders. However they are both young and relatively inexperienced (Nasri is 21 and Ramsey 18).

More importantly it is at the defensive side of midfield that we are getting thinner.

The question is whether Wenger will recruit a more experienced defensive midfielder to add more nous as well as create more viable options.

This will be needed to cover for injuries, bans and the Olympic tournament which will take Song away and possibly Toure (the Ivory Coast team has not been announced yet) for the most part of August.

Recent press reports of Wenger’s interest in Gareth Barry and Xabi Alonso if true seem to make sense as these players are experienced and battle ready in the Premier League.


However, Wenger as we indicate in the poll we have set up, has some other options within the current squad to fill the void left in the defensive side of midfield.

He can promote one from the remaining midfielders like Diaby, Song and Denilson.

He can also become more imaginative by playing Toure there and installing in his place in defence Song, Senderos or Djourou.

However I would prefer he buys in more options in midfield who would compete for their first team place along with the existing players.

I say this as I consider one of the main reasons for the collapse last season was a thin squad which was also littered with relatively inexperienced youngsters.

Wenger will then begin to worry about replacing Adebayor…if he leaves.


Poll results so far…

About 32% of the votes on the poll go for the new midfielder option. But 26% want Diaby to be given a chance. Total votes cast at the time of writing: 1197


Arsene’s revised transfer plans?

The woman behind Nasri!


30 comments:

Anonymous said...

We need to buy and buy big. We need to spent more than 50m on a new defender, midfilder another wide player and a new forward.
Otherwise another trophyless season and bulging coffers when we sell Fabregas and Van persie next season....

Anonymous said...

People voting for diaby are insane,
he loves to dribble(loses the ball very often bcos of it)
is greedy on the ball,
prefers to go forward rather than defend(great dm aye ?),
he's not energetic like flamini(who despite not being the best tackler in the world[but still better than diaby] was winning the ball bcos of him chasing/closing down the opposition)
like flamini he sin't a good tackler.

so !unless! diaby transforms (like flamini/adebayor did in our last season) we will be fucked ! we need a new DM simple as that.

seyoyo said...

Arsenal didnt have a thin squad. But trie we are getting depleted.

And really on principle I really though Arsene will stick to his guns about keeping the team together.

I thought that was fundamental.

Anonymous said...

Those of you criticising Diaby havent got a clue.
he was dribbling oo much (and loosing the ball) because a) he was playing in a forward position and b) he wanted to show to Wenger and everybody else what a good player he is.
He is agreat defensive midfilder who will surprise each and everyone of you morons.

Kimmono said...

The only in-house midfielder I can belive in is Denilson. Song is too slow. Diaby has become less and less exciting to watch.

Denilson can be a world class midfielder for us if we give him the amount of matches he needs to develop as a player. We did it with Fabregas.

The question is if we can afford it?

Joshua said...

agree with above comment. diaby is not a defensive midfielder. just cos he vaguely resembles vieira in physique doesn't mean he plays anything like him. also he isn't even a very good attacking midfielder in my opinion. we must buy someone preferably yaya although that seems very unlikely.

Anonymous said...

we need a deffensive mid an attacking mid like arshavin a gd deffender and a striker falcao would hav been great but he said he isnt intrested in a move from river plate so isuggest wenger should go for huntelaar or maybe aguero

pozdny said...

Diably is a good DM. The reason why you see him trying to dribble and lose the ball is because he was playing at left side of midfield where his job is to go forward!

Diably has my vote of confidence in center of midfield alongside Fabregas.

Anonymous said...

Diaby is not a defensive midfielder full stop. cant tackle and i have never once seen him display good defensive positioning.

i really wish he didnt look like vieira...

Anonymous said...

go for Barry and our problem solved

Pratik Agrawal said...

Well I think Arsenal are on a loosing spree. they should get some quality holding midfielder. With 4 midfielders gone the situation is urgent. But u never know Wenger guys, he is the Professor and he definately will have something up his sleeves. any wayz gr8 article 1970 Gooner..

1970's Gooner said...

Thanks Pratik

Anonymous said...

Diaby, Denilson or Song, given the opportunity, will all do what Flamini did last season - become a great partner for Cesc. With Rosicky, Djourou and Randall all able to play in central midfield - as well as Nasri & Ramsey - how do we need someone else?

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