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By ESPN Staff

Wenger 'comfortable' with Hleb exit

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has described himself as 'comfortable' with the decision to sell Alexander Hleb to Barcelona.

The Belarus midfielder joined Mathieu Flamini in leaving Emirates Stadium since the end of last season and although Wenger had initially been keen to retain his services, he was content with the terms of a deal worth an initial £11.8million, rising to a possible £13.5million.

Barca formally unveiled the 27-year-old yesterday and while his former club responded by thanking him for his efforts during his time in England, Wenger insisted he had no regrets over the transfer.

'We must firstly thank Alex for his contribution towards Arsenal during his time with us.

'He played a significant role in the three seasons he was with the club.

'We are comfortable with our decision to let him go and we are all looking forward to continuing our preparations for the new season ahead.

'Everyone at Arsenal wishes Alex the best of luck for the future.'

Hleb, meanwhile, has set his sights on helping Barcelona return to their trophy-winning ways after completing his 'dream' move to the Catalan giants.

'I want to give my best for this club. I have realised a dream. My aim is to win many trophies,' he said.

Hleb also hopes his versatility will be an asset to new Barca coach Pep Guardiola, insisting he is willing to play anywhere on the pitch.

'I am ready to play in any position, I am available to the the coach to play in any position, including goalkeeper,' he joked during his presentation.

Former Gunners skipper Gilberto Silva is another player on his way out and is likely to be unveiled as a Panathinaikos player later today.

The Brazilian anchor man flew into Greece yesterday and is close to finalising a deal that would make him the country's highest-paid player.

The 31-year-old is set to undergo a medical before signing a three-year contract with the Athens club.

PAO president Nikos Pateras met with Gilberto's representatives last week and thrashed out a deal after Arsenal accepted an offer of around £1million to bring to an end a six-year stay with the Gunners.

Gilberto was overwhelmed by the reception he received at Athens Eleftherios Venizelos airport and was whisked away by Pana officials without making any statements to the local media.

Barring any last-minute changes, the World Cup winner will ink a deal that will see him earn £6million over the course of his contract.

Despite being made vice captain of Arsenal in 2006, Gilberto found himself on the fringes of the first team last season due to the presence of Cesc Fabregas and the emergence of Flamini, who has since left the club and been replaced by France midfielder Samir Nasri.


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