The father of West Ham United midfielder Nikola Vlasic has revealed that the summer signing is set to start tonight’s game against Dinamo Zagreb in the Europa League.
The Hammers have travelled to Croatia to kick-off their latest European campaign, with David Moyes’s side having sealed a sixth-place finish in the Premier League.
Ahead of their first venture into Europe since the 2016/17 season, the Hammers elected to bolster their squad with the acquisitions of Nikola Vlasic and Alex Kral on deadline day.
The former joined from Russian outfit CSKA Moscow for a fee of £25.7million and has penned a five-year deal at the London Stadium, with the option for a further season.
The 23-year-old made his first Hammers appearance last time out in the 0-0 draw against Southampton after being introduced from the bench.
Whilst team news is usually a well-guarded secret up until at least 90 minutes ahead of kick-off, the midfielder’s father, Tata, appears to have let slip that his son is in line for his full West Ham debut – ironically in his home country.
Talking to Croatian outlet Vecerni List, Vlasic senior said: “It is important that fans enjoy a good football show. I hope Nikola plays a good game. I know that he will start from the first minute.”
Hammers boss Moyes did not reveal whether Vlasic could be in line for his first full outing in his pre-match press conference but was full of praise for the midfielder.
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He said: “We’ve been really impressed by Niko. His attitude as a professional is first-class.
“We like him. We watched him a lot at CSKA Moscow and in the Euros. We see a young player still developing, but one who already has a lot of experience and caps for Croatia.”
Vlasic certainly has history against Dinamo ahead of the meeting in Zagreb. He has come up against the club on 14 occasions throughout his career, winning just twice and never managing to score.