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City news, 28.02.2007 15:46

Tymoshchuk Switches To Zenit St Petersburg For 20 Million

zenit Ukrainian midfielder Anatoliy Tymoshchuk switched to Russian side Zenit St Petersburg Russia's on Wednesday for 20 million dollars, one of the biggest sales fees ever for a player from the former Soviet Union.

A nine-year veteran of Shakhtar Donetsk and a regular starter for the Ukrainian national side, Tymoshchuk will earn the equivalent of four million dollars annually, according to Kommanda newspaper.

Tymoshchuk, 27, turned down competing offers from Feyenoord, Glasgow Celtic, AS Roma, Fiorentina, and Wigan to join Zenit. The Russian side won the bidding war, the GOL! television programme reported.

Regional sports media generally rate Tymoshchuk Ukraine's strongest defensive midfielder, with exceptional endurance, a powerful long shot, and dogged ball-winning skills.

Though criticised at times for a tendency to miss-hit simple passes forward, he was rated Ukraine's top player last year in a Ukraine sports magazine survey.

A native of Lutsk, a city in one of Ukraine's poorest provinces, Tymoshchuk is popular with Ukrainian football fans as one of the few members of the Ukrainian national team to speak Ukrainian, as most other players and the entire coaching staff use Russian.

Tymoshchuk's transfer leaves Shakhtar coach Mirca Lucescu needing to reshuffle his midfield while counting down to a final 16 UEFA Cup bout against Spanish side Sevilla on March 15.

Arguably the only Ukrainian player ever to have been sold for a higher fee than Tymoshchuk was Chelsea striker Andriy "Sheva" Shevchenko, who in 1998 went to AC Milan for a reported 25 million dollars.

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