Anzhi director believes Willian is among best players in the world
Anzhi Makhachkala director German Tkachenko believes that new recruit Willian is among the best players in the world.
The Brazilian midfielder moved to Russia in a €35 million deal from Shakhtar Donetsk in January, after being linked with the likes of Chelsea and Tottenham Hotspur.
Tkachenko, who works as an advisor to owner Suleiman Kerimov, feels the club have made a signing which could see them become one of the top sides in Europe.
He told sports.ru: "Willian is a man who is in a category of stars, which comes immediately after Cristiano [Ronaldo] and [Lionel] Messi.
"To bring him here was our goal, our dream. It is very easy from the middle of the table to become a good team. But when you are at the top it is more difficult.
"Willian had a desire to leave. We knew what would release him. He had a release clause in his contract and we understood we had to take the opportunity as it may not come around again."
The club director also admitted that the club had looked at a number of players during the January transfer window, including Napoli's Edinson Cavani, but Willian was the only one who was affordable and willing to leave his current club.
He continued: "We looked at James Rodriguez of Porto. He is young, but he cost €45m. We bid for Cavani, but his price is still €70m.
"There was [Juan] Mata. There was [David] Silva. There was Oscar. There was [Javier] Pastore. There was Lucas Moura, who moved to PSG this winter. But all had no motivation to leave their current club, or the transfer fee was higher than that of Willian.
"One of the main aims for Anzhi this winter was to bring in a top attacker. The player who can bring the team to the next level."
Tkachenko concluded by refuting claims that the Brazil international had only joined the big-spending Russian outfit for money and that Anzhi were the only club to offer the Ukranian club enough money.
He added: "Willian's desire to get away from Donetsk was paramount to his move. Certainly not the money. He's on the same money he could earn in Donetsk.
"We understand that you have to pay a premium, which other clubs could not afford. Tottenham offered €30m and Chelsea were persistent in only offering €25m."