Nikola Vlasic believes that he and Everton “can do great things together” after the 19-year-old forward became manager Ronald Koeman’s ninth summer signing on transfer deadline day.
Vlasic, who has joined from Croatian side Hajduk Split on a five-year contract, wants ultimately to lead Everton towards the Champions League, having described his move to Goodison Park as “the opportunity of a lifetime”.
The highly-rated teenager impressed Koeman with his performances against Everton in the Europa League earlier this month and, from the moment he learned of the Blues’ interest, he swiftly set his heart on a move to Merseyside in the firm belief that Everton can provide the perfect platform to take his game to the next level.
“I am very excited about the opportunity to play for this big club,” said the Croatia international. “The Premier League is the best league in the world and this is one of the top clubs in England. It is such a big honour for me to be here.
“When I heard that Everton were interested in me, I knew straight away I wanted to come here. Whenever someone called my manager or my father, I told them I only wanted to come to Everton.
“The ambition of the Club is to ultimately play in the Champions League and I want to help achieve that goal. I believe in myself and in this team - I think we can do great things together.”
Vlasic also revealed the chance to play for Koeman was a major factor in his decision to join the Toffees.
He said: “When there is a manager like Ronald Koeman who wants you, there is no need to talk about it much. I wanted to come here because of the manager, because of the big players, because of the reputation of the Club. It is the opportunity of a lifetime.
“I played a lot of games for Hajduk Split but the Premier League is something else. Playing football in England is a much bigger stage - football is number one here. I believe in myself. I want to learn from my teammates, improve and I believe I can be successful here.”
Everton manager Koeman said: “We are very happy to bring Nikola to the Club as he is one of the big young talents in Europe.
“He showed that quality when we played Hajduk in the Europa League and he is only 19, so he will develop.
“Nikola is one of those players who can play a big part in Everton’s future and in what we want to achieve as a club.”
A product of Hajduk Split’s youth system, Vlasic’s precocious talent marked him out as a likely Premier League footballer from the day he broke into Hajduk’s first-team three years ago.
The Croat scored on his debut in a Europa League qualifier against Irish side Dundalk in July 2014 before going on to play 37 games in what proved to be the forward’s breakthrough campaign.
Vlasic - the son of Croatia’s decathlon record holder, Josko Vlasic, and brother of former world high jump champion and Olympic silver medallist Blanka Vlasic - amassed 120 appearances and 13 goals for Hajduk, where he was also the team’s vice-captain.
A physically strong, attack-minded player, Vlasic has primarily operated on the flanks but is equally comfortable in midfield or operating in a number 10 position.
He also played for Croatia at every age-group level from Under-16 through to Under-21 and won his first senior cap in a friendly match against Mexico in May.
Vlasic will wear shirt number 27.