Everton have confirmed the signing of Hajduk Split winger Nikola Vlasic on the club’s official club website. The 19-year-old, a capped Croatia Under-21 international, has been on the radar of Everton boss Ronald Koeman, after the youngster impressed the Dutchman during the two legs of Everton’s Europa League qualifying playoff with Hajduk earlier in August.
Who is he?
Vlasic has been highly rated at Hajduk since netting on his debut in a Europa League qualifier against Irish side Dundalk in July 2014. He went on to feature in 37 games for the Split side in what became a breakthrough season for the youngster.
His full record for the Croatian Prva Liga side includes 120 appearances and 13 goals, as well as a stint as vice-captain. He has featured for his country in every age group from Under-16 through to Under-21 and won his first senior cap back in May, in a friendly match against Mexico.
He also comes from something of a sporting background. His father, Josko, is Croatia’s record decathlon holder, and his brother, Blanka, a former world high jump champion and Olympic silver medallist.
What’s his style of play & what will he bring to Everton?
The Croat is known for being attack-minded and powerful, and has mostly operated out wide for Hajduk. He does, however, come with a degree of versatility, having operated in centre-midfield and in the Number Ten role.
He is a pacey and direct attacking player, capable of going straight in to improve the Everton squad, as well as having potential for the future. This could well prove a great buy for Everton, particularly with Ross Barkley set for a move away in January if not by the end of the night.
What’s the deal?
The Liverpool Echo report that the deal will cost the Toffees £10 million, with Vlasic putting pen to paper on a five-year contract. He will be handed the Number 27 shirt at Goodison Park.
What’s the reaction?
The player himself was honoured when Everton confirmed the signing earlier on Thursday night:
“I am very excited about the opportunity to play for this big club,” said Vlasic as quoted on Everton’s official website. “The Premier League is the best league in the world and this is one of the top clubs in England. It is such a big honour for me to be here.
“When I heard that Everton were interested in me, I knew straight away I wanted to come here. Whenever someone called my manager or my father, I told them I only wanted to come to Everton. The ambition of the Club is to ultimately play in the Champions League and I want to help achieve that goal. I believe in myself and in this team – I think we can do great things together.”
Everton manager Ronald Koeman was also thrilled to have got the deal over the line, judging by his comments:
“We are very happy to bring Nikola to the Club as he is one of the big young talents in Europe. He showed that quality when we played Hajduk in the Europa League and he is only 19, so he will develop.
“Nikola is one of those players who can play a big part in Everton’s future and in what we want to achieve as a club.”
Vlasic himself was equally quick to shower praise on the Dutchman, earmarking him as one of the main reasons he opted to move to Goodison Park.
“When there is a manager like Ronald Koeman who wants you, there is no need to talk about it much. I wanted to come here because of the manager, because of the big players, because of the reputation of the Club. It is the opportunity of a lifetime.
“I played a lot of games for Hajduk Split but the Premier League is something else. Playing football in England is a much bigger stage – football is number one here. I believe in myself. I want to learn from my teammates, improve and I believe I can be successful here.”
Everton fans have also reacted positively, with many excited at the addition of one of Europe’s most promising youngsters.