West Ham United fans may not know too much about reported imminent signing Nikola Vlasic.
West Ham have been heavily linked with Vlasic in the last week or so with widespread reports claiming a deal has been struck to sign him for £25m with £6.5m in add ons (The Guardian and Fabrizio Romano).
Clips on YouTube show Vlasic to be a stocky, strong, skilful attacking midfielder with an eye for a pass and a goal.
He has a quick turn of pace too making him seemingly ideally suited to the Premier League.
As West Ham fans will know there is a big difference between doing it in Russia and doing it in the Premier League.
But Vlasic has also shone in Europe for CSKA as well as at international level with Croatia. And those are both sound barometers for his talent.
What will undoubtedly excite West Ham fans, though, is Vlasic’s goal contribution record.
Jesse Lingard scored nine goals and laid on six assists during a 16 game loan spell last season making it 15 direct goal contributions in 16 matches.
That takes some replacing. But in Vlasic West Ham may just have pulled it off.
After an inauspicious couple of years at Everton where he made only 19 appearances, young Croatian Vlasic went out to Moscow to rebuild his reputation.
The 23-year-old has done that and then some.
And his goals and assists record is simply insane. In his time at CSKA Vlasic – from midfield remember – has notched 32 goals and 19 assists in 86 games. (WhoScored).
That’s 51 goal contributions in 86 matches. So West Ham’s imminent new arrival has either scored or made a goal every 1.6 games since arriving in Russia.
He has been scoring and assisting regularly for Croatia in that time too.
And in three Europa League appearances at Everton he scored two goals and provided an assist.
The numbers are superb and undoubtedly attracted Moyes. The diligent Scot is known to research signings to the nth degree.
And he will have had the full lowdown on Vlasic as a player and character from his friends at Everton.
That’s not even taking into account important statistics that aren’t recorded such as pre-assists – the crucial pass or action that sets a team on their way to scoring a goal.
It looks like there are exciting times ahead for West Ham if they can get the Vlasic deal over the line.
And he will have the hunger and desire to prove himself following his stint at Everton as a teenager.
Just how Moyes likes his players with a bit of fire in their bellies to showcase their talent on the big stage.
In other news, West Ham star’s new manager demands World Cup focus.