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Done Deal: Everton sign 19-year-old winger Nikola Vlasic from Hajduk Split

Scott Challinor

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Nikola Vlasic

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.

23 year old from Stoke-on-Trent. Avid Port Vale fan. Also follow Derby County & OGC Nice closely. BA Hons Modern Languages Graduate (University of Oxford). My prior experience in Sports Journalism comes from Volleyball & Floorball, having worked on major tournaments with the CEV, FIVB, & IFF. Have been contributing pieces to The Boot Room since 2016. Views are my own.

Everton

After failing in Greece on loan, Kevin Mirallas’ Everton career is surely over

The Belgian still has two years remaining on his contract at Goodison Park.

Max Cohen

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Kevin Mirallas
Photo: Getty Images

Once an integral part of the Belgian national team, Everton’s Kevin Mirallas was dealt a harsh blow when he was left out of his country’s World Cup squad by former manager Roberto Martinez this week.

The devastating news is the latest disappointment in what has been a failed season for the winger, leading many to wonder if Mirallas has played his last game for the Toffees.

It has been a sharp fall from grace for the 30-year-old, who signed a three-year contract at Goodison Park just 12 months ago.

At the time, Mirallas spoke of his desire to win trophies with Everton and the faith Ronald Koeman had in him. A year later, the Belgian’s situation could not be more different.

The winger made just two Premier League starts in the first half of the season, and was entirely left out of the match-day squad from late November to New Year’s Day.

(Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images)

Due to Mirallas’ lack of opportunities at Goodison Park, he was sent on loan to Greek club Olympiacos in January.

He had previously enjoyed two fruitful years at the club from 2010-2012, even winning the league’s top scorer award in 2011/12.

Yet a return to the site of his former glory failed to produce the intended effect, as Mirallas contributed a disappointing two goals and two assists in 15 matches in all competitions.

In a country not known for its defensive prowess, the Belgian’s lack of attacking firepower is a worrying sign of a player on the decline.

And in early May, Mirallas was reportedly shipped back to Everton earlier than expected due to his poor performances, according to Belgian journalist Kristof Terreur.

Although there are two years left to run on Mirallas’ Everton contract, it looks increasingly unlikely that the winger will ever appear for the Toffees again.

Thanks to a failed loan spell in Greece and an abject run of form, Kevin Mirallas appears to be on his way out of Goodison Park this summer.

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Everton

Leeds have to react and appoint Sam Allardyce following his Everton sacking

Leeds United find themselves at a crossroads after another disappointing campaign.

Josh Kerr

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Allardyce
Photo: Getty Images

Leeds United fans want Sam Allardyce as their next manager following his departure from Premier League side Everton. The top flight veteran left the Merseyside club yesterday morning, despite only six months in charge.

The news comes at a perfect time for Leeds, with supporters far from convinced with the job Paul Heckingbottom has done at Elland Road so far.

The Whites were sitting comfortably in the EFL Championship play-off positions before the Christmas period. However, poor results and low morale saw the club slip down to 13th, missing out on their top six target which had been set by owner Andrea Radrizzani last summer.

Following his Everton exit, Leeds should consider approaching Allardyce if they are to have a change of fortunes in the league next season.

Heckingbottom took charge from Thomas Christiansen half-way into the season, but results under his stewardship were disappointing and the arrival of a new boss would not be out of the question.

(Photo by Stephen Pond/Getty Images)

Allardyce had led Everton to an eighth-place finish in the Premier League this season but had not done enough to win over supporters at Goodison Park.

However, the 63-year-old has been one of England’s most successful manager’s for more than a decade, and Elland Road could be the perfect destination for him to have one foray.

 

Allardyce has been an expert in ensuring stability and grinding out results, a trait Leeds have certainly lacked in recent years.

Leeds have had eight managers in the last four years so clearly there is a problem in terms of recruitment in Yorkshire.

However, Allardyce is an appointment that doesn’t come around every day, and it is difficult to argue that his sacking comes at a perfect time for both parties.

Big Sam and Leeds were once Premier League giants and an alliance between the two could see United with their most experienced manager in over a decade, and Allardyce with the chance to prove his credentials once again.

The 63-year-old famously guided West Ham to promotion back in 2012 and he could be the man to finally do the same at Elland Road.

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Everton

Marcel Brands should target Kevin Strootman reunion at Everton

Brands signed Strootman for PSV and is now in charge of dealings at Everton.

Mathew Coull

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Everton made sweeping changes behind the scenes yesterday. Sam Allardyce has been sacked as the first-team boss whilst there was also a boardroom reshuffle. Meanwhile, Steve Walsh has left his role as the director of football at Goodison Park and been replaced by PSV Eindhoven supremo Marcel Brands.

The Dutchman arrives with a huge reputation from his time in Dutch football. Undoubtedly, Everton will now find themselves linked with a long list of former players under Brands’ command.

Many of those players should be ignored but if Everton are to go for one former Brands player, it should be Roma midfielder Kevin Strootman.

(Photo credit should read MARCEL VAN HOORN/AFP/Getty Images)

The Dutchman was snapped up by Brands from Utrecht along with Belgian forward Dries Mertens and went on to become a regular at the Philips Stadion. After two brilliant seasons in Eindhoven, he headed to Roma. At one point it did look like he was on his way to England, but a move to Manchester United never materialised after a career-threatening knee injury.

Since then Strootman has recovered and established himself as a top European midfield operator during the past three seasons at the Stadio Olimpico.

(Photo credit should read FILIPPO MONTEFORTE/AFP/Getty Images)

Last summer he signed a new deal in the Italian capital, but Everton might just have enough to convince Strootman to finally make the move to the Premier League.

Financially, it would appear that Everton are going to be well backed again this summer by owner Farhad Moshiri. So putting together a deal that pleases both Roma and Stootman on that level should not be an issue. Everton also have players they are ready to move on, who could be included in any deal.

The problem would be convincing Strootman that he is better off at Everton then with the Champions League semi-finalists.

Which is where Brands would come in. He would need to be the man leading the negotiations to reunite with the Dutchman. Offering Strootman the chance to be the midfield lynchpin that Everton build around for the new campaign might just be enough to convince him that, at 28-years-old, this is his best chance to come and play in England.

It would be a tough deal to put together. But if Brands wants to win over the Everton fans, getting a deal for Strootman together as his first piece of business would be a pretty good start.

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