Aleksandr Hleb
Alexander Hleb in action for Stuttgart
Blues have pulled off a major transfer coup by signing Barcelona midfielder Alexander Hleb on a season-long international loan.

The 29-year-old Belarusian has joined Alex McLeish's side until the end of the 2010/11 campaign.

Hleb, who is an attacking midfielder, joins Blues having spent the last year on loan with leading German outfit VfB Stuttgart.

Born in Minsk, he began his career in his home country with FC BATE, before he was spotted by Stuttgart in 2000.

He went on to spend five years at the Bundesliga club, before he attracted the attention of Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger who took him to the Emirates in a deal reported to reach 15m Euros.

Aleksandr Hleb
Hleb at Barcelona
After three years and 89 Premier League appearances for the Gunners he was on the move again to one of the world's top sides FC Barcelona for a fee of 17m Euros.

In his first season at the Nou Camp he was a member of the team which won the treble, although the number of starts he made was limited to just 19.

In July 2009 Hleb returned to former club Stuttgart, where he played 25 times for Christian Gross's side.

His acquisition brings the number of summer signings made by Alex McLeish so far to six, alongside Ben Foster, Nikola Zigic, Matt Derbyshire, Enric Valles and Martin Jiranek as well as Michel and Craig Gardner who were signed in January.

And the manager says he is delighted to add a player of Hleb's talent to his squad: "Hleb is a top quality player - one who at one stage we'd only actually dreamed about really.

"Over the past year or so we have talked about him but with no real belief we could get him. We decided to give it a try and towards the end of the window we found out it might be
Alex McLeish
Boss Alex McLeish
possible.

"This is a major signing for us and we are very happy to have him here. He is an extremely creative type who is skillful, a great dribbler and has an excellent touch and quick feet.

"He has huge international experience and a great pedigree due to playing for clubs such as Stuttgart, Arsenal and Barcelona.

"As with all of the players we have brought to the club in recent times I'd like to thank the Board for their support in making them happen."