Hleb completes Barcelona move
The Arsenal midfielder becomes the Catalan club's fifth signing of the summer.
Last Modified: 17 Jul 2008 05:11 GMT
Midfielder Alexander Hleb is expected to add to Barcelona's attacking force [AFP]

Aleksandr Hleb, Belarus midfielder, has completed his transfer from English Premier League club Arsenal to La Liga side Barcelona by signing a four-year contract with the Spanish giants.

The 27-year-old, who has been highly sought after by Barcelona, flew to Spain on Wednesday to take his medical, arriving just after the club had agreed to sell Brazilian forward Ronaldinho to AC Milan.

"Hleb was a priority for us. He is extremely versatile with great footballing skills," Pep Guardiola, Barca coach, told a news conference.

Barca said Hleb moved for $23.87 million, with a further two million payable dependent on results, and that he would immediately join up with the rest of the squad for pre-season training.

Hleb becomes the Catalan side's fifth signing of the off-season as they continue to rebuild the team under new coach Guardiola after two years without silverware.

Barca have already acquired Uruguay defender Martin Caceres, former youth team defender Gerard Pique, Brazil full back Daniel Alves and Mali midfielder Seydou Keita.

Attacking potential

After finishing third in the league last season they have a Uefa Champions League third qualifying round tie to play next month.

Hleb, who wanted to leave Arsenal despite having two years left on his contract, will add to Barca's attacking potential, linking up with former Gunners team mate Thierry Henry.

Barca were looking for an attacking midfielder, a wide player and a number nine, to complete their squad, with Hleb able to play in either of the first two roles.

Emmanuel Adebayor, Arsenal striker, has been linked to the club as a possible front man to replace Samuel Eto'o, who has been told he is surplus to requirements.

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