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Hleb on his way out of Arsenal, agent says

SoccerNews in English Premier League 9 May 2008


Alexander Hleb, the Belarus midfielder who has been one of Arsenal's outstanding players this season, is set to follow Mathieu Flamini out of the Emirates Stadium, according to his agent.

Hleb, 27, has the option of buying himself out of the remainder of his Gunners contract at the end of the season and his agent, Nikolai Shpilevski, has confirmed that is what he intends to do.

“Alexander is preparing to make one of the most important moves of his life,” Shpilevski said in comments made to the Belarus newspaper Pressball and picked up by British media.

“He is leaving Arsenal even though they want to offer him a new long-term contract and better conditions. Only time will tell if leaving is the right decision, but there's no way back now. Everything will be cleared up in the next two weeks.”

Hleb is expected to move to Internazionale, who have been accused by Gunners boss Arsene Wenger of “tapping up” Hleb, a charge the Italian club deny.

Hleb joined Arsenal from Stuttgart in July 2005 for 11.2 million pounds. His first season was marred by injury problems but he has been a first-team regular in the last two campaigns and his dribbling and deft passing have become key components of Arsenal's ability to open up opposing defences.

The apparently inevitable loss of Hleb will increase the pressure on Wenger to spend big in the transfer market this summer.

Arsenal's French manager has already lost the services of Mathieu Flamini, who departed for AC Milan on a free contract earlier this week, and there must be concern that the exodous will affect the thinking of more valuable assets such as Cesc Fabregas and Emmanuel Adebayor, both of whom are coveted by some of Europe's biggest clubs.


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