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Why Vlasic didn’t get the shirt number he wanted

Deadline day signing lifts lid on Everton’s striker search

Everton FC v Apollon Limassol - UEFA Europa League
Nikola Vlasic
Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images

In an interview with Croatian media house 24Sata (via Goal), youngster Nikola Vlasic has revealed that he had asked for the #19 shirt when his transfer to Everton was confirmed, but was told by the club that the number was being held for top transfer target, Chelsea striker Diego Costa.

This is interesting news for Blues who to this day remain mystified how Everton failed to sign a single striker in the summer transfer window to replace Romelu Lukaku and the on-loan Enner Valencia.

Despite the Toffees being linked with a multitude of forwards, not a single one of the signings happened on deadline day. Vlasic himself was signed just hours before the window closed, and it appears at that time Everton were still optimistic that they would be able to sign Costa.

"No.27 was free, I wanted 8 but Ross Barkley wears it, while the club was keeping 19 for Diego Costa."

The Croatian forward also expressed remorse over Ronald Koeman being let go earlier this week, but understood that was the nature of the game.

“I’m sorry that Koeman got sacked, because he bought me and we had a really good relationship, but that’s football.

“Everton is a great club for young players like Jordan Pickford, Dominic Calvert-Lewin, Ademola Lookman, Tom Davies, me. We all get chances; I’m satisfied.”

He went on to talk about his relatively quick adaptation to the English game, and who had caught his eye so far.

“In the Premier League, it’s easiest when you have the ball at your feet. And the hardest thing to do is to play against a team that breaks you down with their rhythm, like Arsenal.

“I haven’t had a chance to play against all of the strongest teams, only Arsenal, and I was impressed by Alexis Sanchez. Mesut Ozil is great, but Sanchez is impossibly fast, strong, always creating, turning and moving.”