Hleb: Reds and Spurs wanted me

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.”