• Premier League

AVB disappointed at Willian's sideways move

ESPN staff
February 1, 2013
Willian signs for big spending Anzhi

Tottenham manager Andre Villas-Boas believes new Anzhi Makhachkala signing Willian was forced to make a sideways move in the January transfer window after being priced out of a switch to the Premier League.

Villas-Boas has long been an admirer of the Brazilian midfielder, but was unable to agree a deal for the player before Thursday's transfer deadline - as Willian instead agreed a blockbuster £34 million move to Russian side Anzhi.

Villas-Boas expressed his belief that Willian was eager to move to the Premier League, but Shakhtar's demands priced him out of that market - as he was ultimately left with only one option, to make the move to Russia.

The Portuguese said it was a "pity" that Willian was unable to move "to a better league" due to Shakhtar's demands.

"Willian is a very difficult situation," Villas-Boas said on Friday. "He is rated very highly by Shakhtar to a point where European clubs can't compete for him. His transfer was made by a crazy amount of money.

"He has moved to a league which is the same as the Ukrainian league. It's a pity that a player of that talent cannot move to a better league because his talent deserves that, but I wish him well at Anzhi."

While acknowledged that Anzhi - backed by billionaire owner Suleiman Kerimov - had the financial muscle to complete deals many Premier League clubs could only dream of, Villas-Boas does not believe English sides will increasingly miss out on top talent in future.

"What we see in Russia and Ukraine are people who have made it in their personal life to be a billionaire," he noted. "He [Kerimov] can take care of the club he followed as a kid with tremendous financial conditions.

"This is not a big problem for the Premier League. This is nothing new. It happened before with the Russian league and the league in Qatar.

"There are a lot of Premier League clubs who can attract big, big players. This is still the best league in the world and people want to come here."

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