Everton FC have signed Russian international midfielder Diniyar Bilyaletdinov from FC Lokomotiv Moskva for a fee thought to be in the region of €9m.
Bilyaletdinov, Lokomotiv's captain, has put pen to paper on a five-year contract with the Liverpool-based side after passing a medical in the German city of Hamburg. "Yesterday evening Lokomotiv and Everton reached an agreement on the transfer of Bilyaletdinov," the Moscow team announced on their website. "The key factor was the desire of Diniyar to play for an English Premier League club and try his skills at the highest level."
The 24-year-old attacking midfielder will come to England with the blessing of Lokomotiv president Nikolai Naumov. "Everton first showed an interest in 2008. Lokomotiv were in a tough situation then, so as a club patriot Diniyar decided not to leave," Naumov said. "But after one and a half years we had no right to stop the player considering the deal. The transfer fee is big enough, so the offer was accepted." The left-footer had been recommended to Everton manager David Moyes by his international coach, Guus Hiddink. "I know David has wanted to bring him to Goodison Park for some time," said Everton's chief executive Robert Elstone.
Bilyaletdinov emerged from the Lokomotiv academy to score 31 goals in 151 Premier-Liga appearances following his debut in March 2004. He won the Russian title that same year, the Russian Super Cup the next, and the Russian Cup in 2006/07. This term the skipper had played 14 matches, registering three goals. Capped 28 times by his country, Bilyaletdinov will be ineligible for Everton's UEFA Europa League play-off second leg against SK Sigma Olomouc in the Czech Republic on Thursday. The Toffees won the first game 4-0.
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