With the 2016-17 season having finally drawn to a close, it's time for Inter to turn their attention to the summer transfer window and start planning properly for the campaign to come. However while a whole host players have been linked with us over the past fortnight - Antonio Rudiger, Radja Nainggolan, Dalbert Henrique and Angel Di Maria to name a few - the 'ins' are unfortunately going to have to wait until we have sorted some of the 'outs'. Financial Fair Play is the reason for this; in short, Inter need to recoup €30m before 30 June 2017 so that they can break even in accordance with agreements they've made with UEFA, and only so much of that can come from sponsorship avenues.
To avoid receiving a corporate slap on the wrist, we need to sell one of our better players for a profit before the end of the month, and it seems that Ivan Perisic has been identified as that very player. According to multiple reports in the Italian press, the 28 year-old is inching closer to a mega-money move to EPL side Manchester United, who will be participating in next season's UEFA Champions League and would therefore represent a big step up in the Croatian winger's already successful career (I'm sorry but they would, let's be objective for a moment). On Thursday morning both the Gazzetta dello Sport and Mediaset Premium reported that the English club had offered a slightly eye-watering €52m for the player, having previously had an offer of around €35m rejected out of hand by Inter, and that thus a deal was close to being reached.
In an ideal world, Inter would of course not sell Perisic at all. While frustratingly inconsistent and sometimes downright uninterested in the football match that's taking place around him, Ivan has been one of our best players since arriving two summers ago and would be very difficult indeed to replace, both in terms of technical characteristics and in terms of his goal and assist numbers (both of which were in double figures for the season just finished). But at this point it is difficult to imagine any other scenario. It has been suggested that Inter could raise the funds they need by 30 June through several smaller sales, as opposed to one big one; according to Mediaset, for instance, they could feasibly afford to keep Perisic if they got rid of three between Marcelo Brozovic, Jeison Murillo, Andrea Ranocchia and Stevan Jovetic*. However time would very much be against them if they opted for that route, and then you actually have to find clubs that want these flops and their high wages.
*Ranocchia will now return to Inter after his six-month loan spell with Hull City, while Sevilla are yet to decide whether they wish to exercise the option to buy that was written into their loan deal for Jovetic (€13m was the price agreed in January).
Because of this, it seems pretty unlikely that Inter will be able to keep Perisic. Incoming Head Coach Luciano Spalletti is said to be a big fan of his, and is therefore keen for the club to keep hold of him if possible, but sadly it doesn't look as though it is possible at the moment (and in the world of the mercato, it's always important to emphasise the phrase 'at the moment'; it's a weird world and things change incredibly quickly). As well as the financial problems keeping him could cause, though, there is also a potential emotional issue. Mediaset reported on Thursday that Perisic has already said goodbye to all of his teammates and has begun to mentally prepare himself for a move to England, so for Inter to refuse all offers for him they would either have to persuade him to remain or keep him at the club against his will. Neither scenario is particularly desirable. It is also because of this that reports in Croatia believe a deal to be almost inevitable - tportal.hr have described the Perisic-United transfer as 'only a matter of time'.
However it is worth making it clear that this deal isn't done yet. A surefire sign of an imminent transfer is always when every news outlet starts reporting pretty much the same thing, and in the case of Perisic that hasn't happened yet. Sky Sport, for example, have not reported anything about United's €52m offer and say that Inter aren't even going to enter into negotiations until somebody puts €55m in front of them. Alfredo Pedulla isn't even certain Perisic will end up at United, as he announced on Wednesday that Roberto Mancini is dreaming of bringing him to Zenit St Petersburg after being appointed as their new manager earlier in the week.
In short, we're probably going to have to say goodbye to Perisic at some point during the next four weeks, but that time hasn't arrived just yet. If United really have offered as much as €52m for him, you can't help but feel Ivan would already be in Manchester.
Would you sell Ivan Perisic for €52m?
This poll is closed
Yes, you can't reject an offer like that
Yes, in fact I would even have accepted slightly less
No, Perisic is worth more than that
No, we shouldn't sell him under any circumstances