Big-spending Russian outfit Anzhi have lured Brazilian midfielder Willian Berges da Silva from Shakhtar Donetsk in a reported 35-million euro ($48 million) transfer deal, the Sport Express daily reported Friday.
If confirmed, the transfer would be the third biggest in the history of the Russian league after Zenit St Petersburg last year signed Brazilian forward Hulk for 60 million euros and Belgian midfielder Axel Witsel for 40 million euros.
The report said that the 24-year-old Willian has already arrived in Russia to sign a four-year deal with the club from the capital of Dagestan if he passes the medical examination.
The newspaper report said that Anzhi would pay Willian a 2.5-million-euro annual salary.
Willian started his professional career in 2005 at Corinthians before signing a five-year contract with Shakhtar in August 2007.
He has played 202 matches and scored 31 goals for the club from Ukraine's mining belt, winning four Ukrainian titles and four national cups.
In 2009, Willian, who collected also two caps with the Brazil national side, won the last edition of UEFA Cup with Shakhtar.
Anzhi, from the Russian Caucasus republic of Dagestan, were founded in 1991. They had little success in the Russian league before 2011 when the club was purchased by oil and metal tycoon Suleiman Kerimov, a businessman with Dagestani roots.
His financial backing allowed the club to pull off a series of big transfer deals, including Cameroonian star striker Samuel Eto'o and Brazilian veteran Roberto Carlos, who currently works in the club as a sports director after hanging up his boots.
The signing of Willian will allow Anzhi Dutch manager Guus Hiddink to boost his club's forward line and increase their chances to grab their first ever national title.
Anzhi are currently second in the Russian Premier League with 41 points from 19 matches, two points behind leaders CSKA Moscow. The Russian league resumes on March 9 after the winter break.