caption:Willian moved to Russia in the biggest-money transfer of January
Anzhi Makhachkala recruit Willian says the prospect of taking on a new challenge was behind his €35million move from Shakhtar Donetsk.
Willian, 24, had been linked to Chelsea or Tottenham in recent weeks but has instead signed a “long-term deal” with the Russian Premier League club, announced via their official website on Friday night.
The Brazilian midfielder admits he still feels some attachment to his former club, but is eager to impress in a different league.
"I spent five and a half years in Donetsk," he said. "[There were] great people and great relationships within the squad. We won numerous titles and I wish success to my former teammates.
"Now it's time for a new step in my life. I'm happy to be with Anzhi. This is a club with serious infrastructure and big goals. They have a strong team managed by one of the best coaches in the world. I'm sincerely happy to become a football player on the Dagestani team."
Anzhi swooped late on Thursday for the playmaker, and have now completed the most expensive deal of the January transfer window.
A statement on the Shakhtar website read: “FC Shakhtar and FC Anzhi reached an agreement regarding Willian's move to the Russian club in a transfer worth 35million euros.
“Shakhtar thanks Willian for the years spent at the club, for his goals and professionalism. We wish our former player success in his new team.”
In all since joining Shakhtar from Corinthians in 2007, Willian has played 221 games for the club, scoring 37 goals.
The player will join up with his new team-mates at a training camp in Marbella on Saturday.He joins a number of fellow Brazilians in the Anzhi squad, as well as high-profile names Samuel Eto'o and Lassana Diarra.
Information from the Press Association was used in this report.