Eight things you need to know about West Ham United’s new signing Nikola Vlašić!


1. He was a true teenage prodigy

Nikola Vlašić’s outstanding talent was spotted at a very early age. The Guardian named the attacker as one of its ‘40 of the best young talents in world football’ in October 2014, when he was just a few weeks past his 17th birthday. The profile of the teenager explained: “Vlašić only turned 17 this month, but you can hardly tell by watching him play. Yes, his technique and movement are impressive, but what really sets Vlašić apart from his peers is his athleticism and stamina… Nikola can play in any attacking position behind the striker.”



2. He made an historic senior debut at 16

Nikola Vlašić made is debut for hometown club Hajduk Split aged just 16 years and 286 days in a UEFA Europa League qualifier with Irish club Dundalk on 17 July 2014. The teenager scored on his debut, making him the club’s youngest-ever scorer in European football. Despite being so young, Vlašić became a first-team regular that season, 2014/15, making 37 appearances, scoring four goals and assisting three more as Hajduk finished third in the Croatian First League.


3. He is from an outstanding athletic family

Blanka Vlasic
Nikola Vlašić is not the only talented athlete in his family. His father Joško was the Yugoslav decathlon champion five years in a row from 1979-83 and won a Gold medal at the Mediterranean Games in Casablanca, Morocco in 1983. He later coached his daughter Blanka – named after Casablanca! – to huge success as a high jumper. Blanka (pictured), who is Nikola’s older sister by 15 years, was twice crowned World Champion and World Indoor Champion and won the Silver and Bronze medals at the 2008 and 2016 Olympic Games in Beijing and Rio respectively.


4. He has great experience for his age

Nikola Vlašić made all of his 120 appearances for Hajduk Split while still a teenager! The attacker scored 13 goals and assisted 20 in those 120 games, which included 24 starts in the UEFA Europa League, 76 starts in the Croatian First League and seven starts in the Croatian Cup. In all, despite being just 23, he has made 274 senior appearances for club and country.


5. His spent a season with Everton

Nikola Vlašić appeared twice for Hajduk Split against Everton in the UEFA Europa League Play-Off round in August 2017 and his performances led to the English Premier League club signing him for a reported £10m fee a week after the second leg – exactly four years ago on 31 August 2017. The teenager would score his first Everton goal in the same tournament against Cypriot side Apollon Limassol on 28 September, and again in the return leg.


6. He slayed the mighty Real Madrid – twice!

Nikola Vlašić made an unforgettable start to his career with CSKA Moscow. After joining CSKA aged 20, initially on loan, in August 2018, the attacker excelled immediately. He scored on his UEFA Champions League debut against Czech side Viktoria Plzeň, netted a memorable winner against Real Madrid on 2 October, then registered an assist in the Russians’ 3-0 win over Real in Spain in the return fixture on 12 December.


Nikola Vlasic scoring against Real Madrid


7. He was a superstar in Russian football

In three seasons with CSKA Moscow, Nikola Vlašić was directly involved in 54 goals in 108 appearances, scoring 33 and assisting 21. The 23-year-old has been a model of consistent production in Russia, being involved in 15 goals in 2018/19, 20 in 2019/20 and 19 in 2020/21. His form for CSKA saw him named Russian Premier League, Russian Football Union and Sport Express Footballer of the Year for 2020 in December, collecting nearly twice as many votes as second-place Aleksei Miranchuk of Lokomotiv Moscow.


Nikola Vlasic celebrates scoring against Scotland at UEFA Euro 2020


8. He is a regular for his country

Nikola Vlašić is a regular member the Croatia squad. Since making his senior international debut in a friendly win over Mexico on 28 May 2017, aged 19, he has earned 26 caps, including 17 starts. Vlašić’s first assist came on his fourth appearance, when he set up Andrej Kramarić’s goal in a UEFA Nationals League tie with England at Wembley in November 2018. He then scored three goals in five UEFA European Championship qualifiers in late 2019 to cement his place in the squad. Vlašić was part of Croatia’s squad at UEFA Euro 2020, scoring in a 3-1 group-stage win over Scotland, and has been called-up for three 2022 FIFA World Cup qualifiers this month.


Europa League packages now on sale