Arshavin: I would have been Barca bench-warmer

Arsenal midfielder Andrey Arshavin says he is glad he signed for the Emirates Stadium outfit instead of Barcelona, as he feared he would have suffered the same fate as former Gunner Aleksandr Hleb.

The £15 million arrival from Zenit St Petersburg has made an explosive start to his Premier League career, netting six goals in 11 outings - including four against Liverpool at Anfield - as well as captaining the side on only his 10th outing at Portsmouth.

However, the diminutive Russian playmaker believes he would have made no sudden impact at the Nou Camp had he chosen to sign for the Catalans instead.

He believes Barca's stellar names including Thierry Henry, Xavi, Andres Iniesta and Lionel Messi would - in all likelihood - have ensured he spent more time on the substitutes' bench.

“I did have an offer from Barcelona but Zenit were not happy. I try not to think about what could have happened and at least at Arsenal I am playing," he said in the Daily Mail.

“At Barcelona I think I would be sitting on the bench, like Aleksandr Hleb.

“Which player could I replace? Thierry Henry? No, he is too good and I think Messi will be the World Player of the Year.

"So where would I play at Barcelona?

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