With the uncertain future of Kevin Mirallas, and a lack of a pacey tricky winger in the ranks, Ronald Koeman has got Steve Walsh to act.
Nikola Vlašić fits that gap. A name that may be familiar to some Blues, as he’s visited Goodison before, two weeks ago to be exact. And then lined up against Everton a week later.
Evertonians are a funny bunch, if Twitter is anything to go by then 50 percent of Blues thought he was God’s gift when he played 174 minutes over the two legs in the Europa League playoff round and the rest, including myself, fell under the bracket of not recalling he ever existed.
Nikola is a versatile player, he is able to operate on either wing and behind the main centre forward.
A product of the Hajduk Split youth system, this is a name that Croatian national team fans hope can get them on their feet in the not too distant future.
At 19 years old, a fully fledged Croatia youth international, and with one senior cap under his belt, he is a lot more experienced than you’d think…
Nikola Vlašić – the most young ever player (19 years i 6 months ) with 100 appearances for Hajduk. Congrats. https://t.co/V5V6oGB3NX
— Hajduk Split News (@HajdukSplitNews) April 26, 2017
He has gone on to make 120 appearances for Split, scoring 13 times.
Despite his age, don’t underestimate his leadership qualities (a common feature of Koeman and Walsh’s transfer dealings this summer), Vlašić was appointed vice-captain of Hajduk Split at 18, and having captained the side on multiple occasions it’s clear to see he’s well thought of in Croatia.
This is Nikola Vlasic who we've reportedly agreed a fee of €10m for with Hajduk Split pic.twitter.com/nJEY2889XF
— Everton Fans Corner (@EFCFansCorner) August 28, 2017
Clearly an exciting prospect, having made it into a list of the 40 best players born in the year of 1997 in the Guardian.
In 2013, at the age of 16, Bleacher Report wrote this about him…
“He has the technique AND the physique.
While Vlasic’s skills with the ball and his understanding of the game look hugely promising, he is also incredibly strong for a teenager. He has looked really impressive in all three games he has started for Hajduk so far and has probably been their best player at the beginning of the season.”
Nikola Vlašić v Everton (both legs):
4 key passes
~€9 million fee seems cheap! ? pic.twitter.com/xN25ZDBerd
— Scouted Football (@ScoutedFtbl) August 28, 2017
Director of football Steve Walsh has built his reputation on finding unknown bargain buys. So Blues fans across the land will be hoping this £8 million acquisition will be his new Riyad Mahrez, Jamie Vardy or N’Golo Kante mould of signing.
Up the Toffees.