Aleksandr Hleb recently revealed that although he’s having a break from football, he’s happy to evaluate offers, and the 36-year-old took the opportunity to joke that he could sign for Arsenal again.
Hleb left Russian side Krylia Sovetov Samara last year, deciding at the age of 36 to take a break from football. However, the former Gunner admits that if a good offer comes in for his services, he’ll consider it.
The attacking midfielder even joked that he could sign for Arsenal again.
“Tomorrow I’ll fly to London and sign again for Arsenal. Seriously now I’m taking a break but it’s clear that I still feel like a footballer, so I will evaluate the offers,” he told TMW.
Although Hleb is obviously joking about flying to Arsenal ‘tomorrow’ and signing for his former club, I don’t think there’s any doubt in anyone’s mind that he would return to north London in a heartbeat if given the chance.
Since leaving Arsenal for Barcelona in 2008, Hleb’s career steadily declined as he was struck by injury.
In May 2017, the Belarusian admitted that he still asks himself why he ever left.
“Arsenal was the best time in my career. I was absolutely, 100% happy,” he told FourFourTwo.
“I had an unbelievable coach, fantastic friends and amazing team-mates. It was a dream come true.”
He later said, “People always ask me why I departed but it’s hard to explain. I don’t know why. I also ask myself why I left.”
Arsenal fans were gutted when Hleb left for what he obviously thought were greener pastures. Even though some are still bitter about the move, it’s still heart-breaking that his career hasn’t panned out the way many predicted it would.
Like Tomas Rosicky, Hleb’s appeal was more about the way he played than his stats. During his three years at Arsenal, Hleb made 130 appearances over all competitions, scored 10 goals and provided 16 assists.
And, like Rosicky, who retired at the end of 2017, fans will always wonder ‘what if’ with Hleb but in a slightly different way.
If Hleb’s career had gone well after he left north London, I doubt he would cling onto his good years at Arsenal so tightly.