During the 2017/18 season, Everton made it to the group stages of the Europa League after overcoming Ružomberok and Hajduk Split in the qualifiers.
Against the Croatian side, they registered a 3-1 aggregate victory and Nikola Vlasic started in both matches and a few days later, the Merseyside club secured his services.
Ronald Koeman was the then manager at Goodison Park and Ivica Olic, the 2018 World Cup runners-up’s assistant coach explains why the Dutchman decided on bringing the 21-year-old to the club.
“Everton took Vlasic because he was dominant when they played two matches against Hajduk played,” the former Bayern Munich man told Sportske Novosti.
The attacking midfielder struggled to impress for the Premier League outfit and his playing time was restricted in his debut season. The arrival of Marco Silva in the summer saw the Portuguese manager sanction his loan move to CSKA Moscow.
Vlasic has scored five goals and registered two assists for the Russian club, which includes a goal in his side’s victory over Real Madrid in the Champions League. Olic stressed that his compatriot made the right decision of joining CSKA on loan.
“Nikola Vlasic went to CSKA, one of my former clubs. I followed his matches. When he came, I talked about him with CSKA sports director Roman Babajev. They asked me what I think about him,” he said.
“Vlasic made a very good move to CSKA. We especially welcome the fact that he returned to the form he was before signing for Everton.
“We already had him gathering for Greece, he was in the squad, he entered the game in Zagreb. Already in this period he had a very good impression on me in training. He quickly adapted to A selection… I really liked it.”