Nikola Vlasic believes he has a point to prove at West Ham United after failing to establish himself in the Premier League during his brief time with Everton, via football.london.
The Blues bought Vlasic from Hajduk Split in 2017 for £10m after impressing in the Europa League. He left an instant impression on former manager Ronald Koeman and Director of Football Steve Walsh when the sides met. Yet chances to feature proved difficult to secure.
The Croatian only made 12 top-flight appearances with the Goodison Park outfit before moving to Russia. Vlasic is now back in England with West Ham, and wants to prove he is better than his Everton record.
“I feel that I have a point to prove,” Vlasic said. “When I went to Everton, I was very young, 19-years-old, so I didn’t have too many chances there. Now it’s a different situation. I’m a more mature player, a better player. I loved the three years at CSKA, I think I proved a lot. So, I’m back in England and I want to prove myself here in the best league in the world.
“Maybe [my age] was the problem at Everton, but I remember I was good at training. Maybe I should have had more chances, but it is what it is. I wanted to leave the club to have more minutes and it helped me to be in Russia. I was the main player at CSKA, it helped me to gain confidence.
“Now I’m back here and I need to prove myself. I’m back at the start of a journey and every game, every training session is about proving myself. I’m here only seven days and I hope I will be here a long period of time.”
Did Everton offload new West Ham star Vlasic too early?
Vlasic will hope he can enjoy a far more successful time at West Ham than he endured with Everton. After impressing Koeman as a Split star, the Dutch coach only awarded the Croatia maestro four league outings, starting three. His replacement, Sam Allardyce, was rarely any more forthcoming with four starts in six appearances over the remainder of 2017/18.
Impressing in training was not enough for Vlasic at Everton, who failed to score or assist in any top-flight game. He netted twice and assisted once in six Europa League outings. But the Toffees sent him to CSKA Moscow on loan before selling him a year later for £14m.
The 29-cap ace ended his time in Russia with 33 goals and 21 assists in 108 appearances in all competitions. West Ham will hope they spent their money wisely in bringing Vlasic back to England after his Everton troubles. The Irons paid £27m rising to £35m with add-ons, while David Moyes has so far handed him 96-minutes without a goal or assist yet.