Hleb set for Stuttgart loan

Posted Saturday, August 01, 2009 by PA

Belarus midfielder Alexander Hleb will spend next season on loan at Stuttgart from Barcelona, the European champions have confirmed.

Hleb had been expected to be part of the exchange deal which saw Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Samuel Eto'o switch allegiances earlier this week.

But the 28-year-old has opted against joining the Cameroon frontman at the San Siro due to the limited prospects of regular football under Jose Mourinho, and instead decided to return to the Bundesliga.

After a difficult season with Barca, Hleb was keen to find a club which could guarantee him first-team action and Stuttgart had been monitoring his situation for several months.

The Swabians intensified their interest in the player after seeing moves for Real Madrid's Klaas Jan Huntelaar and Vagner Love of CSKA Moscow break down.

Hleb left Stuttgart four years ago to move to Arsenal, where he spent three years before moving on to the Nou Camp last summer.

Stuttgart finished third in the Bundesliga behind Wolfsburg and Bayern Munich last term and offer Hleb Champions League football once again next season.

Hleb told Stuttgart's official website he had moved to Markus Babbel's side because of their prospects for the coming season.

"I have opted for VfB (Stuttgart) because the team has great potential and I am convinced that we can achieve a lot together," the 28-year-old said.

Stuttgart general manager Horst Heldt added: "We have signed a world class player with Alexander Hleb. He will increase the quality of our squad even further."

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