Bilyaletdinov fears Pienaar exit
Russian ready to pounce for first-team spot
By Danny Wright. Last Updated: December 10, 2010 9:07am
Bilyaletdinov: Ready to pounce
Everton midfielder Diniyar Bilyaletdinov admits losing Steven Pienaar in the January transfer window would be a big blow for the club.
Pienaar has been heavily linked with a move out of Goodison Park next month when trading gets under way, with Tottenham believed to be the front-runners in chasing his signature.
The 28-year-old is out-of-contract at the end of the season and a sale in the New Year may resemble manager David Moyes' only chance of receiving a fee for the player's services.
And Bilyaletdinov concedes the South African's departure would be bad news for his team, who are struggling to pull away from the Premier League relegation zone.
He told Sky Sports News: "He's a great player and if he goes out in January it'll be a very bad thing for Everton."
Bilyaletdinov has been kept out of the Everton side because of Pienaar, so any move for the South African may provide an opening for the winger.
That prospect has dawned on the Russian, who added with a wry smile: "But we've still got other people to replace him."
Bilyaletdinov has yet to find the net this campaign after enjoying a memorable opening season on Merseyside last season.
The 25-year-old left Lokomotiv Moscow for British shores last August but has been unable to help his side as much as he would have liked.
Despite some impressive showings from Moyes' team, Everton go into Saturday's home clash against Wigan just two points above the drop zone.
But Russian star Bilyaletdinov says the lowly position is simply down to bad luck.
He said: "We haven't had enough luck yet because we haven't won many games. I think Everton is the unluckiest team this season. That's why it's happening."
Moscow-born Bilyaletdinov had reason to celebrate last week when his country was handed the rights to host the 2018 World Cup.
And he reckons Russia will not disappoint, adding: "I think we will hold a great tournament. It is very important for us because we don't have a good infrastructure.
"We need the new stadiums, the new airports and the new hotels. For Russia it's a big decision."