By Noel Whelan

20th Sep, 2021 | 12:36pm

Whelan: Vlasic will be 'great signing' for West Ham despite embarrassing stats v Man United

Nikola Vlasic “will prove to be a great signing” for West Ham but needs time to settle in at the London Stadium, according to Noel Whelan.

The former Premier League striker, speaking exclusively to Football Insider, said the 23-year-old cannot be expected to explode upon his return to England like Cristiano Ronaldo.

Vlasic made his first Premier League start for the Irons on Sunday as they lost 2-1 to Manchester United.

The £27million summer signing touched the ball just 30 times in his 67 minutes on the pitch – five touches less than Lukasz Fabianski. (Whoscored)

Whelan is confident that the “top-class” Vlasic will prove his worth to the Hammers this season.

“Vlasic needs time,” he told Football Insider‘s assistant editor Dylan Childs.

Click below for exclusive transfer news

“He had one opportunity and nearly got a goal out of it. He is a top-class player, we know that.

“It is important to take into account that he’s playing against a quality Manchester United side. It was never going to be easy. To come straight into a game against United is a tough ask.

“He has barely got to know his teammates yet. Everyone expects fireworks to happen straight away like Ronaldo, but he is not Ronaldo. It will take time.

“Vlasic has shown he is a quality player. West Ham wouldn’t have spent that kind of money on him otherwise. Give him time and he will prove to be a great signing.”

In other news, Robinson makes Moyes-Bielsa claim as West Ham set sights on new signing.