Lescott cash on Diniyar Bilyaletdinov EVERTON are ready to spend the first chunk of the cash they receive for Joleon Lescott by signing Lokomotiv Moscow captain Diniyar Bilyaletdinov.
The Blues agreed a deal with Manchester City for Lescott over the weekend and they will receive an initial £22million, which could end up reaching £24m with add-ons.
Now David Moyes has the cash to make some serious moves before the transfer window closes and first through the door will be Bilyaletdinov.
A delegation from Goodison Park will fly out to Hamburg today to conduct a medical with the Russia international, who operates on the left-side of midfield.
Capped 28 times by his country, Bilyaletdinov will add a presence to Everton’s engine room – his 6ft 1ins – and will cost Everton £8.9m.
The 24-year-old will require a work permit but there should not be any problems, as he is now a regular for Russia and helped them reach the semi-finals of Euro 2008.
With Valencia midfielder Ever Banega also expected to arrive on Merseyside this week, Moyes can now turn his attentions to filling the void created by Lescott’s departure.
He has a number of targets in mind, ranging from West Ham’s Matthew Upson to David Wheater of Middlesbrough and Bolton’s Gary Cahill, but recognises that he needs to move swiftly.
There were occasions during yesterday’s 1-0 defeat at Burnley when Everton did not look anything like the robust defensive unit of last season and improvement is imperative if they are not going to leave themselves too much ground to make up.
But Tony Hibbert, the club’s longest serving player, has urged supporters not to panic, as he says experience shows Moyes will again get things right even though Lescott has gone.
“Seeing new faces gives everyone a lift and it keeps us all on our toes and I’m sure the manager is working hard to do that,” said Hibbert.
“We will miss Joleon. He is a good lad and on the pitch he is a brilliant footballer; he has shown that in his displays for us. But players come and players go and we’ll move on.”
Fortunately, Everton have a chance to put this latest defeat behind them on Thursday in the second leg of their Europa League play-off against SK Sigma Olomouc.
Hibbert, however, believes that with better fortune the squad would have been travelling on the back of a positive result and he is adamant they will show great improvement soon.
“We knew it was going to be a hard game and we had to weather the early storm but we kept pushing and pushing and just couldn’t find a way through,” said Hibbert.
“It’s a long season and we know we haven’t played to what we can yet. The lads are all down but we’ll get up, get together again and put this behind us.”