Marco Silva says Nikola Vlasic could still have a long-term future at Everton as the young forward continues to impress for CSKA Moscow.
Vlasic endured a difficult first season on Merseyside following his £10m move from Hajduk Split in August 2017.
The 21-year-old made just 11 starts for the Toffees in all competitions under three different managers. He was one of a number of players who suffered due to the club’s ill-balanced recruitment policy that saw the squad overloaded with number 10s.
Playing under so many different managers obviously didn’t help either, with Vlasic often deployed out of position in a wild variety of different formations.
Vlasic and new boss Marco Silva held talks over the summer where the Portuguese confirmed he couldn’t guarantee the youngster regular first-team football in his favoured No.10 position this season.
As a result, Vlasic was sent out on a season-long loan to Spartak Moscow where it’s fair to say he has flourished.
Vlasic has scored three goals in his last four matches, including the winner against holders Real Madrid in the Champions League on Tuesday (the same night Everton were crashing out of the Carabao Cup, lol). His exploits in recent weeks have also earned him the club’s Player of the Month award for September.
That led to obvious questions about his future beyond this campaign when he returns to Finch Farm next summer.
Speaking at his pre-match press conference ahead of Saturday’s trip to Leicester, Silva confirmed we could see Vlasic pull on a blue shirt once more.
“It’s possible. Me and him, when we spoke, he needed time to play.
“He could return to our club. He is playing well. We will follow him and take that decision.
“He is playing well and that is important because he is our player.”
Though Silva was happy to discuss Vlasic’s long-term future, we was wary of revealing what lies ahead for the club in the January transfer market.
We all know that the squad still needs further investment, but Silva isn’t discussing - publicly at least - what is required until he has had time to work with all the players at his disposal.
When asked about his January plans, Silva added:
“It’s too early, too early.
“And I will tell you why it is too early. I have not had time to work with all of our players, some of them haven’t even had one minute in a blue shirt. We have enough time to talk about the situation and my focus is just on our squad, we have many, many things to improve but we have quality inside to improve.
“Of course, the club is always working with me behind the scenes but my focus is just on our squad.”