UPDATE: Vlasic has been given permission to leave the Croatia Under-21 camp to complete the signing formalities.
Izbornik U-21 reprezentacije Nenad Gračan je uvažio molbu Nikole Vlašića i oslobodio ga ove reprezentativne akcije. #U21— HNS | CFF (@HNS_CFF) August 29, 2017
It appears that Everton did not just use their recent two-legged tie against Croatian side Hajduk Split to advance to the Europa League group stage.
According to multiple reports - including The Times’ ever-accurate Paul Joyce, the Blues have agreed to a deal that will see 19 year old Croatian attacker Nikola Vlasic join the club.
Everton closing in on deal for Hajduk Split's Nikola Vlasic. £8m— paul joyce (@_pauljoyce) August 28, 2017
Vlasic has 12 goals and 20 assists in 112 senior team appearances for Hajduk, who he joined at age 12.
The 19-year-old has 29 Croatian youth international appearances, scoring thrice with just the single senior cap, being called up for the May friendly against Mexico where he played the full ninety minutes as a right winger in a 4-4-2 formation.
Vlasic has always appeared destined for greatness, raised by a national record-holding decathlete Josko Vlasic and a former a basketball player and cross-country skier Venera Vlasic, with his sister Blanka a national-level high jumper. His father has been described as obsessed with sports, training and developing young talent.
According to this scouting report from 2014 when Real Madrid, Chelsea and Tottenham Hotspur came looking at the player, Vlasic has both the talent and physique, easily breaking into the Hajduk senior side and becoming their best player, and one of the strongest on the ball, too.
Here are some highlights packages of the player, starting with the 2015-16 season...
...and continuing with the 2016-17 season.
£8 million is a pittance in today’s market, and the player must have genuinely impressed Ronald Koeman and Steve Walsh during the recent qualifying matches.
Capable of playing nearly anywhere in attack, Vlasic fits the mold of what Ronald Koeman likes in his attacking arsenal - players who drift wide and cut inside with equal comfort. In an ideal world, Everton’s wide men several years from now could be Henry Onyekuru on one side and Nikola Vlasic on the other.
It is unclear as of yet whether or not he’ll link up with the senior team or join David Unsworth’s U23 side, but with Kevin Mirallas seemingly exiled, it wouldn’t be a shock to see Vlasic get at least a cup of coffee with the first team.
Either way, it’s doubtful that the Croatian is included in Ronald Koeman’s request for “two more” first team players. Vlasic simply represents another rung in the ladder of Everton’s constantly improving youth setup.