Nikola Vlasic arrived at Everton last summer with great hopes.
From a well known Croatian sporting family, the young striker’s transfer got huge coverage in the country and generated excitement.
Everton fans were also keen for the youngster to do well, but things quickly went wrong.
Whereas moving to Goodison Park was seen as a chance to cement himself in the Croatian squad and build up to the World Cup, Vlasic disappeared from view. When he wasn’t named in the World Cup selection it was no surprise.
Now in the U21 squad, Vlasic is again impressing. Croatia beat Belarus 4-0 on Monday evening, and the Everton owned player, now on loan at CSKA Moscow, assisted three of the goals.
Whilst on international duty, the 20 year old has been speaking to the Croatian media and was asked about his Everton exit.
Novilist quote the player as saying: “I talked at the beginning of the (preseason) training with Everton coach Marco Silva, who openly told me he could not promise me a place among the first eleven. Since I’d practically lost last season, I didn’t want to repeat something like that and Everton gave me permission to find the club where I would play.
“I had good offers from France, Germany, Italy… had several quality chats with club coaches from these countries, but in the end the decision fell to CSKA. Coach Viktor Gončarenko wanted a young player of my character and gave me an excellent impression. Now I see that this was a great decision. I came to the big club, I play with continuity, soon I expect the performances in the Champions League. For now I’m very pleased.”
Vlasic is from Split, which is quite different to Moscow, so he was asked how he’ll get on with the cold weather: “I’ll get dressed for it, there’s no other way, ha, ha, ha… About the football conditions, that’s OK, stadiums are heated so we will not have a problem with freezing. And Moscow as a city… miraculous. A real world city, everyone finds something for themselves. The only problem is a traffic jams, if you are going to meet someone, always count that it takes you an hour or more to get there at the scheduled time.”
A good season in Russia, and maybe Vlasic can revive his Everton career.