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Ivan Perisic stayed at Inter Milan because of Luciano Spalletti

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Was it the right move for the Croatian?

Ivan Perisic of FC Internazionale in action during the Serie...
Ivan Perisic of FC Internazionale in action during the Serie A football match between FC Internazionale and SSC Napoli. FC Internazionale won 1-0 over SSC Napoli.
Photo by Nicolò Campo/LightRocket via Getty Images

Apparently, Croatian international and Inter Milan winger Ivan Perisic was very close to accepting a move to Manchester United last summer.

But, it was Inter manager Luciano Spalletti who convinced Perisic — fresh off the World Cup final — to stay at the Giuseppe Meazza.

“It’s true that an offer from Manchester United was on the table and I was close to leaving Inter,” Perisic told The Mirror in the United Kingdom. “But I decided to stay and, as I said, Spalletti’s perseverance to keep me played a big role. In football, small details in these situations are key.”

He said he was flattered by then-United manager Jose Mourinho’s interest in him and that it was “confirmation of hard work and good performances.”

“When you’re praised by a guy like Mourinho – the manager of a huge club like Manchester United – it’s difficult not to think about such an offer,” Perisic said. “I’m glad he has a high opinion of me and these things motivate me to work hard and train hard, to achieve the best performances.”

But, this season has started off as a struggle for Perisic.

FC Internazionale v SSC Napoli - Serie A
Ivan Perisic of FC Internazionale in action during the Serie A match between FC Internazionale and SSC Napoli at Stadio Giuseppe Meazza on December 26, 2018 in Milan, Italy.
Photo by Claudio Villa - Inter/Inter via Getty Images

So far, in 13 Serie A matches, Perisic has managed just three goals and two assists. He logged 501 minutes in Inter’s Champions League campaign but did not score. Last season, Perisic managed 11 goals and nine assists in 37 matches over the season. While it doesn’t seem like a big difference since we are halfway through the season, take into consideration that Perisic is on pace to fall short of his goal tally from last season.

This season, Perisic averaged 2.7 shots per match whereas last season, he was slightly more aggressive — averaging 3.1 shots per match. His pass success percentage is also lower this season compared to last (72.7 percent compared to last season’s 75.4 percent).

Now I get the fact that we are just at the halfway point of the Serie A season and with Europa League play, there are more chances for Perisic to shine.

But it seems he is missing a step from last season. I don’t see the aggressiveness in the air or on the wing like we witnessed last season. Plus, there is an issue with consistency. Perisic has shown flashes of great play, but he has also shown times where he would have been better on the bench than on the pitch.

Honestly, I am a fan of Perisic. I truly believe his footwork is some of the best in the business. And, of course, when he is on … he is really on.

The problem is we have seen a lot more off than we have on. And that needs to change in the second half of the season.


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