Seeing Nikola Vlašić playing for Croatia has prompted many fans to question what exactly happened regarding the 25 year old's transfer from CSKA Moscow to West Ham. Vlasic is currently on loan at Torino and went there in a deal that could be made permanent for around £15 million, he has already shown enough while at the Italian club to be a bargain buy for the price on offer, one which Hammers committed themselves to when sending the forward out on loan.
On the face of it selling a player at a £15 Million loss looks like a crazily bad bit of business, something West Ham are serial offenders for committing, but the Vlasic deal 'stinks' for several reasons. There is no way on earth that Hammers would have paid all the money up front for Vlasic from Moscow, there would have been an arrangement in place similar to most transfer deals done whereby the full fee is paid in tranches divided equally over the length of the players new contract.
The 'grey area' in the Vlasic saga is that the movement of funds between british clubs and those in Russia are currently restricted in their entirety, even financial big hitters like Chelsea are unable to conduct business with Russian clubs. They are unable to sign Dynamo Moscow and Russia midfielder Arsen Zakharyan until sporting sanctions and money transfer measures imposed on the 19-year-old's country change.
So where do the current circumstances leave the Vlasic deal? At most Hammers will have paid in the region of £5 Million in actual cash to Moscow, meaning there is still a further £25 Million due. You can bet your bottom dollar that Sullivan and the rest of the board will have explored every opportunity there is to avoid paying the extra money, especially given the intransigence of all parties involved in the Ukraine conflict to find a resolution.
If Vlasic does joinTorino then the fee of £15 Million will have to be set aside to pay for the transfer once things have stabilised in the Ukraine, but there is every possibility the conflict will drag on perpetually. It is true Vlasic's time at West Ham was less than successful, but he didn't really get much game time with many viewing his signing as a David Moyes knee jerk reaction to not being able to sign his 'footballing love child' Jesse Lingard.
Whatever the reasons behind the purchase were the exact details remain shrouded and will do for at least 18 months until financial dealings over that period have to be declared to companies house, by that time Vlasic might have moved on permanently meaning he can then be treated as an amortised player, amortisation costs are seen as an annual expense, like the wages paid to players and thus can be identified in the clubs' year-end financial statements.
The club were 'coy' to say the least when we got in touch with them, simply saying such matters are NOT for the public domain. So where does this leave the Vlasic transfer? Nobody knows! - Ed