West Ham United summer signing Nikola Vlasic will be a ‘great signing’ according to BBC Radio pundit Noel Whelan.
The Lowdown: Quiet debut for Vlasic
Following his late transfer window move to the London Stadium, the 23-year-old has made three appearances for the club and has started their previous two games against Dinamo Zagreb and Manchester United.
However, the Croatian only touched the ball 30 times in an hour of action against Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side, five fewer than goalkeeper Lukasz Fabianski and the lowest of anyone to start for David Moyes’ side on Sunday.
He was eventually replaced by Andriy Yarmolenko with the scores level at 1-1, with former Hammers loan star Jesse Lingard netting a late winner for the Red Devils.
The Latest: Whelan optimistic on Vlasic
Speaking to Football Insider, Whelan has claimed that Vlasic will prove to be ‘a great signing’ for West Ham despite his peripheral involvement on Sunday.
The former Leeds United striker said: “Vlasic needs time. He had one opportunity and nearly got a goal out of it. He is a top-class player, we know that.
“It is important to take into account that he’s playing against a quality Manchester United side. It was never going to be easy. To come straight into a game against United is a tough ask.”
Whelan continued: “Vlasic has shown he is a quality player. West Ham wouldn’t have spent that kind of money on him otherwise. Give him time and he will prove to be a great signing.”
The Verdict: Time will tell
Only time will tell whether Whelan and West Ham are right regarding Vlasic. His disappointing short stint at Everton might not inspire confidence, but his performances for CSKA Moscow in particular show that there is a quality player in there.
He is only three games into his time at the London Stadium and Moyes may well be excited about the prospect of Vlasic and Michail Antonio playing together in the coming weeks after the Jamaica international missed Sunday’s game due to suspension.
The Croatian’s record in Russia, where he scored 33 goals and supplied 21 assists in 108 appearances, puts him in good stead to take his game to the next level under Moyes in east London. Whelan is right – give him time and he could come good.
In other news, a new deal could be agreed for a vital member of the West Ham squad. Find out more here.
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