West Ham wrap up signing of attacker they have scouted ‘extensively’

Nikola Vlasic celebrating a UEFA Nations League goal for Croatia, October 2020

West Ham United have completed the signing of Nikola Vlasic from CSKA Moscow for an undisclosed fee, believed to be in the region of £25m.

Vlasic has thus returned to the Premier League three years after his sole season with Everton. Since moving to Russia, he has rebuilt his career and now earns another chance in England. He has signed a five-year contract at the London Stadium that will run until 2026.

Mainly an attacking midfielder, Vlasic will help fill the void West Ham have been looking to fill ever since the end of Jesse Lingard’s loan spell from Manchester United.

The Croatian international hit double figures in each of the last two seasons with CSKA Moscow after netting eight in his debut campaign. He has also earned 26 caps for his country.

After winning the Russian Premier League Footballer of the Year in 2020, Vlasic has been continuing his return to form. Now it is time for him to apply those skills to English football again.

West Ham’s announcement of Vlasic confirms they have scouted him “extensively” and they feel he will bring “top-class quality and experience”.

Importantly, Vlasic has played European football in each of his three seasons with CSKA Moscow. For a West Ham side looking to enjoy a Europa League campaign this season, that could be crucial.

In fact, Vlasic will be returning to his home country during that tournament, as West Ham are in the same group as Croatian side Dinamo Zagreb, along with Rapid Vienna of Austria and Genk of Belgium.

The Hammers have stepped up their transfer activity towards the end of the window. After a relatively quiet summer that had only seen the loan addition of Alphonse Areola, as well as the permanence of Craig Dawson’s loan from Watford, they also signed Kurt Zouma to strengthen their defence recently.

Meanwhile, recent reports have reminded that Everton inserted a clause when selling Vlasic to CSKA that entitles them to a portion of the transfer fee.

Man Utd make Lingard decision

Jesse Lingard West Ham United celeb

The signing of Vlasic comes after reports revealed Lingard is looking more likely to stay with Manchester United.

According to Sky Sports News’ Dharmesh Sheth, Man Utd are happy for the player to stay and contend for a place in Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side.

Sheth said: “Man Utd are happy for Lingard to remain at Old Trafford and to stay and fight for his place.

“Solskjaer has been very consistent in what he’s said about him – ‘he’s part of my plans, he can play a big part for Man United this season’. He said if it wasn’t for Covid, Lingard would have started the first Premier League game against Leeds.

“He was an unused substitute yesterday, which got tongues wagging again. Does that mean he could again be on his way?

“For Lingard, his priority this whole summer was to remain at Old Trafford. We know West Ham have been long-term admirers. Why wouldn’t they be after how well he did in the second half of last season.

“David Moyes has said if Man United did allow Lingard to leave, we would definitely be interested in him.

“As it stands though, it looks like he’s staying. But if a late offer comes in on Deadline Day, they would discuss it with Lingard and a collective decision would be made on what is best for the player.”

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