Nikola Vlasic admits he was bowled over by “perfect” Goodison Park during Hajduk Split’s recent trip in the UEFA Europa League - and says he cannot wait to step out at the stadium again as an Everton player.
The 19-year-old forward completed his move to Merseyside on transfer deadline day, just a fortnight after playing against the Toffees at Goodison in the first leg of the Europa League play-off and seven days after featuring in the return leg at Hajduk’s Stadion Poljud.
And the Croatia international, who made his first appearance for his country in a 2-1 friendly win over Mexico in Los Angeles in May, says it was the “passion” of supporters at the Grand Old Lady that made the greatest impression.
“I came to England with Hajduk Split and we learned that Goodison was one of the oldest stadiums in the country,” Vlasic told evertontv. “In Croatia, there is distance between the fans and the pitch but, at Goodison Park, the fans are so close and it’s perfect.
“The passion that I felt from Everton was so warm and I am looking forward to playing there. I am very excited.”
The son of Croatia’s decathlon record holder Josko Vlasic, Nikola is also a brother to Blanka Vlasic, a two-times high jump world champion who claimed Olympic silver in Beijing in 2008 and bronze at last year’s event in Rio.
Nikola and Josko reportedly spent hours every day honing Nikola’s skills, and when the player joined NK Omladinac Vranjic in 2006, prior to signing with Split four years later, Josko claimed his son had already scored “around 30,000 goals”.
And the forward, who struck 13 times in 120 senior appearances for Hajduk, says he now hopes to transfer his trademark flair from his homeland’s top league to L4.
“I’m the guy who likes to play with the ball at his feet,” he added.
“I do a lot of movement and dribble with the ball.
“I like to play in the middle and I think the fans will enjoy my style of play.”