Everton’s Nikola Vlasic has revealed the club were hoping to sign former Chelsea striker Diego Costa during the summer and had reserved the No 19 shirt for him.
Vlasic was told he would not be able to wear the No 19 shirt when he arrived from Hadjuk Split, for a fee of £8m, because it was reserved for Costa – he eventually settled for the No 27 shirt.
Costa was subject to interest from various clubs over the transfer window, including Everton and AC Milan.
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But he opted for a return to Atletico Madrid despite their transfer ban which means he is not eligible to play for them until January.
Speaking to 24sata, Vlasic explained: “No 27 was free, I wanted 8 but Ross Barkley wears it, while the club was keeping 19 for Diego Costa.”
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Vlasic was brought to Merseryside by Ronaldo Koeman after he impressed during a Europa League qualifier.
And the 19-year-old has admitted he was “sad” to see Koeman lose his job, but insisted that he remains “satisfied” at Everton.
“I’m sorry that Koeman got sacked, because he bought me and we had a really good relationship, but that’s football,” he added.
“Everton is a great club for young players like Jordan Pickford, Dominic Calvert-Lewin, Ademola Lookman, Tom Davies, me. We all get chances; I’m satisfied.