Moyes targets Distin after signing Bilyaletdinov
Wednesday 26 August 2009
The Russia winger Diniyar Bilyaletdinov could become the first of three signings for Everton before they head out to Czech Republic for tomorrow's Europa League play-off second leg.
The Toffees fly out today for the tie with Sigma Olomouc already leading 4-0 from the first meeting last week. With Bilyaletdinov already having penned a five-year contract, Everton manager David Moyes expects to have the loan signing of Valencia midfielder Ever Banega completed in 24 hours. Moyes is also chasing Portsmouth defender Sylvain Distin, who has handed in a transfer request at Fratton Park. All these deals have been triggered by the funds generated by Joleon Lescott's £24m move to Manchester City.
Bilyaletdinov has signed after passing a medical in Hamburg and his move from Lokomotiv Moscow makes him the third most expensive signing in Everton's history. They held the medical and completed the negotiations and paperwork in Hamburg because Bilyaletdinov does not have a visa to travel to the UK but can enter Germany. The Goodison Park club are believed to have already completed the formalities of a work permit, but the Russian has now returned to Moscow to sort out the visa application. That documentation could be cleared in 48 hours, and Everton are considering flying their new signing to Merseyside for Sunday's home game with Wigan Athletic, although he would be unlikely to feature.
The 24-year-old has to join up with the Russia squad on Monday for two World Cup qualifiers. They play Liechtenstein on 5 September and then face Wales in Cardiff four days later. He is expected to play in both matches, and will then travel to Merseyside straight from the Millennium Stadium to prepare for the trip to Fulham on 13 September.
Bilyaletdinov cannot wait to get started on his Everton career. "I spoke to David Moyes and he told me he is looking forward to working with me – and I am looking forward to working with him," he said. "It is a dream for me to play in the Premier League. Everton is a big club and I cannot wait to get started."
Capped 28 times by Russia, Bilyaletdinov broke into Lokomotiv's first team in 2004, forging a reputation for his direct running style as well as displaying the leadership skills which would later be rewarded with the captain's armband.
Bilyaletdinov has been a regular for the Russia national team since making his debut aged 20. He featured in every game of their memorable run to the semi-finals of Euro 2008, where they lost to eventual winners Spain.
Ayegbeni Yakubu was set to make his comeback in the reserves last night against Burnley. The striker has been out since last November with an Achilles injury.
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