Ivan Perisic has been a loyal servant to Inter since he arrived from Wolfsburg in 2015 and even though he has now asked to leave the club, it has at least forced the Nerazzurri’s hand. If negotiations move swiftly with Arsenal, then this transfer will not be elongated and potentially could be beneficial for both clubs.
Ultimately, though, San Siro never really saw the same player who shone for Croatia at the World Cup. It was joked he went from Ivan the Terrible in Croatia to Ivan the Slightly Grumpy at Inter. La Gazzetta dello Sport updated it this week to Ivan the Sellable.
Perhaps when the dust settles, Inter fans can look back with pride and remember how their Croatian wide man performed well in some tough times, as well as comforting themselves with the fact his current form hasn’t been exemplary. It is a bittersweet scenario, that may throw up as many questions as it gives answers.
When Manchester United were vocal about their interest in Perisic over the summer, the Croat did say that he had been close to joining them and would always listen to offers about playing in Spain or England. This caused debate at the time on whether the Nerazzurri should sell one of their prize assets, especially as the winger had just come off the back of an excellent World Cup campaign and insisted he was still happy at Inter.
The sudden transfer request confirmed before Inter’s defeat to Torino was a surprise, but perhaps makes the debate easier. Should Inter sell him on the eve of his 30th birthday? The answer seems to be yes, as he now actively wants to leave. Had he stayed quiet, then the decision may have been difficult, as whilst he has not been in top form, he is still a tremendous player.
“Marotta said, he doesn’t want to play, then clearly he’ll be left out. That’s not a problem for me. Someone who cannot contribute to the team has to stay out.” These were the words of Luciano Spalletti yesterday before the Granata fixture and the frustration was obvious. He went on to tell Sky Sport Italia that they have to listen to the player and it must be said that Perisic has earned that right for his professionalism over the years, a sentiment echoed by Beppe Marotta. “When a player is fair and tells us his mental state and what he wants, we will always listen. After that, it’s an issue of looking after the club’s financial interests.”
Now if Inter can reach an agreement, then this situation may be mutually be beneficial, as the Milanese will make room for another body and Arsenal will get a player who suits the English game, is still in good physical shape and will have a new motivation.
The clubs are now discussing the details, as Arsenal are reported to want Perisic until the end of the season with an option to purchase him outright in the summer. The Nerazzurri rejected this initial offer and would prefer €35-40m upfront. It is still a significant drop off from the €50m they wanted from Manchester United only six months ago.
He may not be firing on all cylinders recently, but there is no doubt that had he been in the right mind set, then he is certainly capable of contributing to this Inter squad. Wanda Icardi, perhaps added some insight into his reasonings for leaving, suggesting on the show Tiki-Taka that Perisic may want to leave for personal reasons. The fact that Inter are complying with his transfer request so quickly may show that this is simply a situation that now only has one outcome.
Perisic has been a fantastic servant for the club in his time in Milan. Often it has been he and Mauro Icardi who dragged Inter over the line and he is the only one who has chipped in with the goals to help take some of the burden off the Argentine, contributing 11 goals and 11 assists in each of the last two Serie A seasons. So far this term, he scored only three.
Should he leave, then Inter fans should remember him as a man who gave his all, offensively and defensively, both on and off the pitch, and his professionalism was second to none.
His reasoning for leaving should potentially be irrelevant, for if Marotta can negotiate a suitable deal with Arsenal, then it will allow someone with a new desire to wear the shirt to take his place. For Inter and Perisic its time say goodbye, but it should come with a mutual thank you and good luck.