London (AFP) – Croatian teenager Nikola Vlasic said his move to English Premier league side Everton on Thursday from Hajduk Split for a reported £10 million (11mn euros, $13mn) is the “opportunity of a lifetime”.
The highly-rated 19-year-old — who made his senior international debut earlier this year — signed a five year contract and is manager Ronald Koeman’s ninth signing in the close season.
Vlasic caught Koeman’s eye in the two-legged Europa League clash with Everton earlier this month — which the English side won — and the teenager revealed a large part of his decision to sign for them was because the Dutch great is in charge.
“The ambition of the Club is to ultimately play in the Champions League and I want to help achieve that goal,” he told the club website.
“I believe in myself and in this team — I think we can do great things together.
“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.”
Koeman, who has shown a lot of faith in young talent both homegrown and bought in since he took over before last season, said Vlasic had a big role to play in Everton’s development.
“We are very happy to bring Nikola to the Club as he is one of the big young talents in Europe,” said Koeman.
“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.”