Nikola Vlasic has not exactly been complimentary about parent club Everton during his time on loan at CSKA Moscow this season.
The young Croatian midfielder has made clear his desire to secure a permanent exit away from Goodison Park at the end of the season, while issuing some scathing comments about former Blues boss Sam Allardyce this week [BBC].
The 21-year-old is enjoying a good season in Russia with CSKA, so far scoring seven goals and supplying four assists in all competitions.
That kind of form begs the question of why Everton let him leave in the first place, and also of whether the club will try and bring him back at the end of the season.
Manager Marco Silva has now provided the clearest indication yet of the club’s intentions and desires regarding the situation, revealing that the Toffees are indeed hoping that Vlasic will return in the summer.
Speaking in the pre-match press conference ahead of their Premier League clash against Bournemouth, Silva said: “When we took the decision it was for him to go and play and return ready to play and fight. It was his decision also. Let’s see what happens in the future,” as quoted by Liverpool Echo reporter Phil Kirkbride on Twitter.
Silva on Vlasic: "When we took the decision it was for him to go and play and return ready to play and fight. It was his decision also. Let's see what happens in the future."
— Phil Kirkbride (@philkecho) January 11, 2019
It is pretty clear from Silva’s comments that the club are expecting the midfielder to return in the summer and reintegrate in the squad ahead of the new campaign.
Obviously the club still hold many of the cards in this situation, but Vlasic’s comments and attitude this season suggest they may have a problem in convincing him to do so.
Vlasic himself could be in for a rude awakening if he is not expecting to return and the club refuse to let him leave, and must start preparing for every eventuality.
There will be many Everton fans actually hoping he does come back in the summer, with his talent being pretty obvious, so hopefully the two parties can resolve their differences and reunite this summer.