Nikola Vlasic has been backed to “kickstart” his West Ham United career after the international break, but patience has been urged regardless.
Vlasic was a deadline day signing for West Ham in the summer, making his return to English football after a previous stint with Everton. In the years between, he got his career back on track with CSKA Moscow. However, he is still waiting for a genuine breakthrough in the Premier League.
The 24-year-old has only started one league game so far since his return to England. Across six appearances in all competitions, he is yet to record a goal or assist.
Given that he is believed to have cost West Ham €30m, they will be hoping for an upturn in his form soon. Of course, he essentially replaced the impactful Jesse Lingard, so has big shoes to fill.
Even though he already has decent pedigree, West Ham should still be patient with their recent recruit, whom one pundit thinks they will soon see the best of.
According to former Premier League footballer Noel Whelan, Vlasic “needs time” but could “go on a run” after returning from the international break, when he will be representing Croatia.
Whelan told Football Insider: “Vlasic is a great player with great pedigree, but he needs time.
“It’s not easy coming from another country to live here. He’s got to learn to play with his teammates, adjust to the new culture.
“They’ve gone out and got a top player but we just need to be patient.
“Maybe Moyes wanted to shore things up [against Brentford, when Vlasic was an unused substitute] instead of chucking on another striker in Vlasic.
“Look, give him two more weeks, let him return from international duty – he’ll be looking to capitalise from now until Christmas and grab his first goal.
“That’s what can kickstart a player in his position form-wise – goals, goals, goals.
“If he gets his first one, he could go on a run and get two or three.”
Vlasic only managed 12 Premier League appearances, without any goals, during his time with Everton. He will be hoping to have a bigger impact over the five years of his West Ham contract.
Moyes satisfied with Vlasic
Speaking after Vlasic’s first start for the club, back in Croatia against Dinamo Zagreb in the Europa League, David Moyes seemed content enough with his new addition.
He too, though, echoed the need for time.
“I see him playing as 7, 10 or 11,” said Moyes. “We can use him in all positions.
“What I saw I really like the look of. He needs time to settle with us, the speed and how we play but he is a brilliant boy with a fantastic attitude.
“I want goals, assists in whatever position he plays and I know he can bring that.
“Coming home to Croatia was a good place for him to start and hopefully, we have a really top player in the future.”