Nikola Vlasic was a player signed by Ronald Koeman, for Ronald Koeman. The Dutchman admired the young playmaker’s versatility, and envisaged him fitting in with what he was trying to do at Everton, so spent £10 million on him. However, it appeared that the signing was based on just a couple of games in a Europa League qualifier against the Croat’s former club, Hajduk Split. Maybe extensive scouting wasn’t carried out on this one.
When Koeman left, his successor Sam Allardyce didn’t really know what to do with Vlasic. And neither, apparently, does new boss Marco Silva, after he was deemed surplus to requirements this season – along with Ashley Williams (who has moved on loan to Stoke), Kevin Mirallas (who looks set to join Fiorentina on loan), and Cuco Martina (who we all hope will just go somewhere… anywhere).
The 20-year-old has showed flashes of quality in his limited appearances, and has been deployed in a range of roles behind the striker. He provided odd flashes of excitement in a time where Everton really needed some last season, but Silva has made up his mind on Vlasic, after he failed to supply a goal or assist during any of his Premier League games – his only luck coming in the Europa League.
Many Blues suppose a loan move may be best for Vlasic at this stage of his career, and perhaps he can play a role at Goodison later on, when he has at least established his own best position. As mentioned, the club has arranged loan moves for both Williams and Mirallas, both more senior players than Vlasic, so to sell the Croatian under-21 international on a permanent deal would prove controversial.
It is perhaps a shame that Vlasic has even been deemed surplus to requirements this season, as Everton’s options on the wing are limited at present, and Vlasic could be used for cover in this position. Amidst the rumours of Ademola Lookman’s departure, it may not be wise for The Toffees to be offloading their young talent.
Despite this, the key rumours at the moment link Vlasic with a loan move to Newcastle, and if he is to leave, this could be the perfect move for him. It would provide the youngster an opportunity to establish himself in the Premier League, and perhaps come back to Everton a better player.
Newcastle often employed a 4-4-2 system last year, which would likely see Vlasic dropped into a wide midfield role rather than an advanced one. This is not the same system Everton are looking to play, however the minutes Vlasic could gain would prove beneficial.
Whether Vlasic is to come back to Everton after his prospective loan move remains to be seen, and it would be difficult to recoup the £10 million paid last Summer from a man who isn’t known for wanting to throw cash around in Mike Ashley. Best of luck to young Vlasic this season, and let’s hope to see the best of him wherever he is to go.