Alexander Hleb has revealed he had options to sign for Liverpool and Tottenham before deciding to join Birmingham on loan.
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Former Arsenal midfielder Hleb completed his return to the Premier League on deadline day after agreeing a season-long loan move to Birmingham from Barcelona.
The Belarus international has struggled to make an impact since joining Barca two years ago and spent the last campaign on loan at Stuttgart.
The 29-year-old had several options to consider regarding his future, but has explained why he plumped for a move to St Andrew’s.
"There were many offers: Liverpool, Tottenham, Benfica," Hleb told Belarus newspaper Pressball. "But it was necessary to carefully consider all the options. With some, we were unable to agree terms.
"Birmingham apparently wanted me more than anyone else, so they were my preference.
"The decision was prompted by the fact I am well acquainted with the English championship.
"This is perfect right now, when I need match practice. The Premier League is the most entertaining league on the planet.
"Birmingham are a stable club and the manager, Alex McLeish, is a good professional. They are not Arsenal, who play every year in the Champions League, but for me it is important now to be playing regularly and returning to my previous level.
"To be honest, the last year and a half hasn’t been what it should. But the deal with Birmingham is my chance and I must take it."