Everton beat Italian giants Inter Milan to the summer signing of young midfielder Nikola Vlasic, according to the former Hajduk Split starlet's agent Tonci Martic.
Vlasic joined the Merseysiders from the Croatian giants in a deal believed to be worth around £10m in the final knockings of the transfer window after impressing former manager Ronald Koeman when playing for Hajduk against Everton in their Europa League play-off round match-up earlier this season.
Everton, whose summer transfer business has been widely derided in recent weeks, moved quickly to sign the 20-year-old and were no doubt encouraged by his productive start to life at Goodison Park, though interim boss David Unsworth has seen fit to use him sparingly during his temporary reign.
Vlasic may have been something of a left-field signing by Everton, who stopped a run of five straight defeats with a 3-2 win over Watford on Sunday (5 November), but a number of esteemed European clubs were well aware of his talent, including Inter Milan.
Luciano Spalletti's side made a number of signings during the summer as they attempted to build a squad capable of challenging at the top of Serie A and but failed to pip Everton to the capture of Vlasic, whose arrival at Goodison Park was heavily influenced by the now departed Koeman, according to his representative.
Vlasic was arguably the sole positive during the last days of Koeman, who was relieved of his duties over a fortnight ago, and the versatile midfielder now faces an anxious wait to see who replaces the Dutchman on a permanent basis.
"Everton made the right offer in the right moment, that's the truth," Martic told CalcioMercato. "Inter wanted to sign him, that's true but Everton made a very good offer to the player and his former club [Hajduk Split].
"Everton have not had a great start to the season but the club believe in him. It was Koeman who pushed to sign him so we have to see who the manager will be."
Vlasic quickly established himself as a part of the Everton first-team under Koeman, who afforded him eight appearances in all competitions, but Unsworth has restricted the young Croat to just one 20-minute cameo against Lyon since taking temporary charge.
Vlasic will be hoping his game-time improves significantly when a new manager is put in place - he could be restored to Everton's starting line-up when they travel to face fellow strugglers Crystal Palace on 18 November.