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Where will Vlasic fit in with current Everton squad?

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Pace and creativity injection should sharpen dull forward corps

Everton FC v Hajduk Split - UEFA Europa League Qualifying Play-Offs Round: First Leg
Nikola Vlasic takes on Ademola Lookman
Photo by Jan Kruger/Getty Images

Nikola Vlasic completed his transfer from Hajduk Split to Everton last week on transfer deadline day, making him the third Croatian player to sign up for the Blues since Slaven Bilić and Nikica Jelavić, who both also featured for Hajduk at a point in their careers.

Speaking to evertontv after his signing was confirmed, Vlasic was raring to get on the pitch -

“I need to bring all of my stuff here, find a place to live, find a car and, of course, start training. But it is all good stuff, because I know I am in England, I am an Everton player and I will be playing in the Premier League.

“It means nothing is difficult. I will do whatever it takes to be successful at this Club.

“I cannot wait to meet my teammates. I met the captain, Phil Jagielka, in the corridor on my way to signing and I was all excited. He shook my hand, welcomed me here and told me he would see me at training, so I am looking forward to meeting him properly - and everyone else.”

Nikola comes from a fine sporting pedigree, with sports in his genes. His father Josko Vlasic is Croatia’s decathlon record holder, his mother Venera Vlasic is a former basketball player and cross-country skier while his sister Blanka Vlasic is a two-time high jump world champion, also winning Olympic silver in Beijing in 2008 and bronze in the 2016 event in last year’s event in Rio.

The soon-to-be 20-year-old has both the talent and physique to make it in the Premier League, easily breaking into the Hajduk senior side and becoming their best player, with the added bonus that he is very hard to shake off the ball, too.

Vlasic is capable of playing nearly anywhere in attack, and is a classic Ronald Koeman attacker who is comfortable drifting wide but has the ability and pace to cut in as needed.

While Yannick Bolasie is sidelined until October at least, Vlasic will compete with Kevin Mirallas for a spot in the starting lineup. The Belgian appears to have gotten on the wrong side of Koeman just before the international break, but a transfer failed to materialize so it remains to be seen whether Mirallas comes back into the squad or else he gets frozen out like Ross Barkley has been previous to his injury.

It’s likely that Vlasic will only come on if the Blues are chasing a goal in the next few games, with his first start coming either in the Carabao Cup game against Sunderland in a fortnight, or the Europa League group game against Apollon Nicosia soon after.