Alexander Hleb has returned to his hometown club, BATE Borisov, for what is his fourth spell at the club.

His move comes in the same week that both Denilson and Fran Merida found new homes.

Hleb, 35, left Arsenal for Barcelona some eight years ago after what must be the most expensive ice cream in history.

Since departing, his career set off on a downward trajectory and after only 19 league appearances for Barca, he was away to Stuttgart, Birmingham and Wolfsburg on loan before signing for Krylia Sovetov Samara, BATE, Konyaspor, Genclerbirligi, BATE, Genclerbirligi and then back to BATE.

Speaking to the official club website, Hleb said, “I always return to BATE with the same positive emotions.

“This is my hometown club where I learned to ply my trade.”

The master of the pre-assist, Hleb has previously spoken about his regret over leaving Arsenal. In 2009 he said, “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.”

In 2010, he added, “Not a lot of players say no to Barcelona.

“But if I’d known what was going to happen I would have said no. It was my fault I left Arsenal. Yes, I won the Champions League but I didn’t play a lot and I lost my form and I lost a bit of my confidence.”

BATE Borisov have won the league in Belarus for the past 10 seasons. They face Dundalk from the League of Ireland in the Champions League third qualifying round.