Aliaksandr Hleb joins Birmingham on season-long loan

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Former Arsenal midfielder Aliaksandr Hleb has joined Birmingham City from Barcelona on a season-long loan deal.

Hleb, who made 89 Premier League appearances for the Gunners during a three-year spell in North London, has struggled for to make an impact since joining Barca two years ago and spent the last campaign on loan at VfB Stuttgart.

The 29-year-old had several options to consider regarding his future, but has explained why he plumped for a move to St Andrews.

Hleb told Belarus newspaper Pressball: "There were many offers - Liverpool, Tottenham Hotspur, Benfica - but it was necessary to carefully consider all the options. With some we were unable to agree terms.

"Birmingham City apparently wanted me more than anyone else, so they were my preference.

"They are not Arsenal, who play every year in the Champions League, but for me it is important now to be playing regularly and returning to my previous level.

"To be honest, the last year and a half hasn't been what it should. But the deal with Birmingham is my chance and I must take it."

Hleb's arrival takes Birmingham's summer signings to seven in total, as Alex McLeish has already added Nikola Žigić, Ben Foster, Enric Vallès, Matt Derbyshire, Martin Jiránek and Jean Beausejour to his squad.

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