Photo: Former Arsenal favourite Alexander Hleb joins Turkish club Genclerbirligi

Hleb

Turkish Super League club Genclerbirligi have confirmed the capture of ex-Arsenal man Alexander Hleb.

Former Arsenal midfielder Alexander Hleb has joined Genclerbirligi SK, the Turkish club have confirmed on their official Twitter account.

Hleb, 33, had spent the past 12 months at Super League rivals Torku Konyaspor, recording two goals and 11 assists in 31 games, before reaching an agreement to cancel his contract on Monday.

Best known for his spell with the Gunners, the Belarus international made 130 total appearances for the Premier League club after arriving from Stuttgart, in June 2005 for €15 million, notching 10 goals and 16 assists, before moving on to Barcelona in the summer of 2008.

Part of Barca's 2009 treble-winning campaign, his career went into considerable decline following his switch to Spain, as he would spend the following three campaigns on season-long loans at Stuttgart, Birmingham City and Woflsburg, respectively.

Released by the Catalan giants in January 2012, the playmaker would go on to take in spells at Russian side Krylia Sovetov Samara and boyhood outfit BATE Borisov, before heading off to Turkey to join Konyaspor last winter.

A well-regarded talent during his time in north London, Hleb has often spoken of his regret at leaving Arsenal in the past, telling the Guardian during a 2009 interview: “Of course I regret leaving Arsenal.

“I was playing every week for one of the most exciting sides in Europe, a team which was always in the top four in the Premier League and were Champions League contenders.

“Also, I was being guided by one of the best coaches in the world in Arsène Wenger. I owe him a great deal. I developed a better all-round game under him and I became more robust physically, learnt to look up more and play better passes and generally improved greatly as a team player.

“No player ever gets worse under Wenger. For me, leaving Arsenal was not a good move.”

It’s up for debate whether Hleb would have enjoyed more success in recent seasons had he remained under the guidance for Arsene Wenger, but it’s certainly clear that he has not performed up to the levels he’s capable of since leaving.

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