Misfit Nikola Vlasic is being played out of position by David Moyes after what he told a reporter before joining West Ham.
Hammers fans were excited by the £33 million signing of Vlasic from CSKA Moscow in the summer.
Moyes gave the former Everton flop big billing and with Jesse Lingard remaining at Manchester United, Vlasic looked an ideal alternative.
West Ham supporters pored over YouTube videos of the Croatian midfielder in action.
And his brilliant goals and assists record had fans salivating at the prospect of him linking up with the likes of Declan Rice, Said Benrahma, Jarrod Bowen and Michail Antonio.
Unfortunately, though, it just has not happened for the 24-year-old at West Ham.
Vlasic has made just five Premier League starts so far and only 15 appearances in total with one goal and no assists to his name.
He has seriously flattered to deceive as yet and failed to kick on when he did show glimpses of talent in some matches.
In six Europa League appearances Vlasic has just one assist to show.
And he cost West Ham at both ends of the pitch in defeats to Liverpool and Sevilla, switching off defensively for the only goal in both games and missing golden chances at the other end in each.
Moyes has always said it may take Vlasic more time to adjust to the Premier League. But supporters are understandably concerned about the validity of the Scot’s claims given the midfielder has already played here before with Everton.
One thing that sticks out like a sore thumb when looking at Vlasic and those YouTube videos of his time in Russia is his position.
In nearly all of the videos it is clear Vlasic is being played through the centre of midfield, usually in a number 10 role.
So it can be argued misfit Vlasic is being played out of position by Moyes, especially after what he told an Athletic reporter before joining West Ham.
“They (Everton) were always putting me left or right and never in my position,” Vlasic told The Athletic’s Patrick Boyland almost a year ago to the day.
“I’m a No 10 and played on the wing at Everton. I didn’t get a chance…
“I would be on the right wing but it was more right wing-back because we were so defensive. I played three or four times under (Sam) Allardyce and I felt like I was a full-back.
“It was the first experience for me in that position and I felt so bad because I had never played winger before. It was a difficult season but it only made me better.”
The big question here is if Moyes believes in Vlasic so much, why is he not playing him in his best position?
That is a question only Moyes can answer. But the evidence is there for all to see that the West Ham boss simply does not see Vlasic in his best position or does not trust him in that role.
The difficulty Moyes has had for much of the season is that West Ham have been so competitive on all fronts, most games have felt must win.
That has not made experimenting easy and Vlasic only joined the Hammers on deadline day meaning he was playing catch-up from the very start.
Next season may be Vlasic’s time to shine with a full pre-season behind him.
But surely the only way West Ham will get anything like the best out of him is if he finally gets a chance in his favoured central position going forward.