Alex Hleb - an open letter

Dear Alex,

For three long years, I tried to give you my support. I was not the only one.

Gooners around the world marvelled at your trickery and screamed at your lack of killer instinct.

You had it all, Alex. A low centre of gravity, enough pace and wit to terrify defenders and vision capable of creating a dozen clear cut chances a game.

But when looking back at the wide players that Arsène Wenger has managed, though, can you recall ever changing a game? Can you remember ever having the same sort of impact as Marc Overmars? Freddie Ljungberg? Robert Pires? Even Jose Antonio Reyes won us some games (Chelsea at home early on for starters) on his own.

In the three months that he has been at the club, Samir Nasri has done more to endear himself than you ever did.

Young and less experienced than you, he is nevertheless willing to have a shot, willing to test the goalkeepers he faces and not afraid to be selfish when the opportunity presents itself.

Where you ran around in circles, Nasri is direct, dynamic and focused on doing what he can for his team.

When rumours circulated that you were going to leave us this summer, few were particularly unhappy.

When it transpired that you felt London was too hectic, you lost all credibility, especially when you ended up at Barcelona, hardly a quiet rural outpost.

And how dare you try and unsettle your former teammate Cesc Fabregas and have the audacity to admit:
"We get on very well on and off the pitch. For me he is like a brother. We call each other a lot to talk about things. He tells me he misses me at Arsenal and, without wanting to detract from anyone, I would love it if he came to Barca to be a part of all this.

"I don't stop insisting that he should return to Barca and he doesn't stop insisting that he is very happy at Arsenal and with Arsene Wenger. I will keep boring him until he changes his mind. If in the end he listens to me, I think it would be great for Barcelona."

Samir Nasri has missed half the season already – and yet he still has two goals and the love of Arsenal fans behind him.

How many Primera Liga appearances have you made since joined Barca? Oh yes, None. Zero. Nada.

My advice to you is to keep your mouth shut and actually try and win something for a change – your spell at Arsenal coincided with our most barren run for a while and I am convinced we will be better without you.

Cesc only has to see how you and Thierry Henry have ‘enjoyed’ your football at Barca to realise he really is better off where he is.