Nikola Vlasic was on the verge of joining Zenit St Petersburg in a £17 million player-plus-cash deal in the transfer window before returning to the Premier League with West Ham United, as reported by Championat.
While there’s no suggestion West Ham was a last resort for the Croatia international – Vlasic insists he plans to achieve “great things” alongside Michail Antonio and co at the London Stadium – what can’t be disputed is the £25 million midfielder only put pen to paper after a couple of other moves fell through.
Speaking last week, Vlasic’s father admitted if AC Milan had managed to agree a deal with CSKA Moscow, the one-time Everton benchwarmer would be plying his trade at the Serie A giants instead.
“Nikola should have gone to Milan,” says Josko Vlasic. “We wanted (to join) the Rossoneri but the two clubs couldn’t find an economic agreement.”
And Milan weren’t the only club that saw a deal for the 2019 Russian Premier League player of the year fall through.
Were West Ham lucky to get Nikola Vlasic?
According to Championat, reigning champions Zenit St Petersburg offered £17 million plus not one but two players, including Russia international Aleksandr Yerokhin, as part of a deal that would have seen Vlasic swap life in the Red Square for a city labelled the ‘Venice of the north’.
“Negotiations broke down at the final stage of the deal,” a source close to the situation explains.
Considering West Ham eventually stumped up £25 million for Vlasic – £8 million more than Zenit were offering – CKSA must be happy with how things turned out.
And while Zenit may have failed to secure the signature of arguably the finest attacking midfielder in the Russian top flight, at least the league leaders did manage to retain the services of star striker Sardar Azmoun amid interest from Roma, Lyon and Tottenham Hotspur.