Since the beginning of June, Suning Group have been in sell-first, buy-second mode, diligently working the transfer market to downsize their current roster to meet Financial Fair Play regulations for the 2017-18 Serie A season.
An additional €30m needed to be raised through player sales to avoid fines. The top name on the roster to easily alleviate the financial restrictions through a sale and essentially unlock all summer market proceedings for Inter was Croatian winger Ivan Perisic.
The 28-year-old, who emerged as a key player last season, initially became the club’s pre-destined financial sacrifice early in the window. Manchester United and Jose Mourinho, fond of the former Wolfsburg attacker and his unwavering work-rate capable of covering demanding defensive duties, tabled an audacious €40m bid for his services – which Inter rejected. Although a few Italian media outlets seemed to claim a total agreement was near between all parties, certainly that wasn’t the case.
Soon, transfer talks stalled, as Inter refused to lower their asking price of €55m. The Italian club temporarily froze talks, put negotiations on hold and instead, found a solution to reach financial safety - one which was not at the expense of Perisic.
Ever Banega, Gianluca Caprari and Senna Miangue were among those sold to raise the necessary capital before the June 30 deadline. Yet, that hasn’t stopped Manchester United, who continue to forge ahead for Perisic’s signature with their latest bid on the table being €45m. But, with Inter no longer pressured to sell the gifted winger, and United still shy of meeting the Milanese club’s demands, should Inter consider taking Perisic off the market?
Inter finished seventh last year behind their arch-rivals Milan, ultimately missing out on qualifying for European competition. A season in which the club saw four Coaches take the post created serious instability and doubt over the project moving forward. Still, even in an otherwise chaotic campaign for the former Treble winners, there were a select few who maintained an elite level of excellence amid the struggles of dealing with uncertainty – and Perisic was one of them.
Over 36 appearances, he bagged an impressive 11 goals, including an equalizer at the death to draw 2-2 in last year’s first Derby della Madonnina, and supplied a further eight assists. But, anyone who observes Perisic enough knows his impact goes much further than simple goal-assist splits.
Technically, Perisic is quite gifted and his overall game is not easily quantifiable, as most of which makes him an asset comes from within. Roaming the left flank, the ex-Club Brugge star’s physical means and tenacity made him a fan favorite, as he often tracked back to assist left-back Cristian Ansaldi, who needed every bit of support.
Inter and Spalletti should take Mourinho’s relentless approach towards coercing Perisic to Old Trafford as a sign that perhaps it would be wise to reconsider shopping one of their top players, even if the Premier League giant does meet their astronomical valuation.
FFP shackles have been shed and soon, Inter supporters can expect a spending spree in what shapes up to be a pivotal summer for the club. City rivals Milan, having already spend north of €100m, have shown ambition and are well on their way back to reaching heights once synonymous with the club. With that being said, it’s now up to Inter to respond and prove to their Italian opposition they too are ready to restore order.
Ivan Perisic’s importance to Inter seasonal objectives cannot be understated. And replacing his two-way impact out on the market is nearly impossible. Spalletti must recognize the talent he has in Perisic, pull him from the market and count on him to help Inter reclaim their reputation around Europe as a powerhouse once again.