Hleb will leave Arsenal, his agent confirms

May 24, 2008

Alexander Hleb will be allowed to leave Arsenal this summer, according to the player's agent.

The Belarus midfielder's future has been the subject of feverish speculation and his representative, Nikolai Shpilevski, claims he is already in talks with another club.

Shpilevski told The Sun: 'I can officially confirm that a short time ago Alexander decided that he will leave Arsenal and join another club.

'Of course, Arsenal and Arsene wanted him to stay but they have accepted the player's choice.'

Hleb has been linked with a move to Inter Milan and reportedly held talks with the Italian giants earlier this year.

Inter's interest infuriated Gunners boss Arsene Wenger, who threatened to report them to FIFA for making an illegal approach for the player.

There were suggestions the player would use Article 17 of FIFA's transfer regulations to buy out the remaining two years of his Arsenal contract.

But Shpilevski insisted Hleb will not rob the club of a lucrative transfer fee, saying: 'We are not using article 17 of the FIFA rule.

'I can't tell you anything about where he will be playing yet.

'Talks are under way, and I don't have the right to make them public.

'I think that the issue of his new club will be clarified in the next few days.'

Shpilevski confirmed one of the reasons Hleb wanted to quit Arsenal was because he had not settled in London following his £11.2million move from Stuttgart three years ago.

'Alex has spent three good seasons at Arsenal and he wasn't sure he could maintain the same level that he has been showing if he stayed,' Shpilevski said.

'It's also true that he felt uncomfortable off the field.

'Alexander wants a change of scene. That's had a large part to play in his decision.'

Should Hleb move on, he would be the second big-name departure from Emirates Stadium this summer following fellow midfielder Mathieu Flamini's move to AC Milan.

The loss of two key men would be a huge blow to Wenger's attempt to emulate and improve upon this season's domestic and European trophy bids.