Croatian star is two-footed and will provide both width and crosses into the box which big Belgian could thrive off
DAVID BECKHAM, Ryan Giggs, Cristiano Ronaldo and Andrei Kanchelskis are four prime examples of traditional Manchester United wingers who make the flank their own and whip in dangerous crosses into the box.
They are traditional wingers, they are synonymous with the image of Man United.
More recently the likes of Juan Mata, Henrikh Mkhitaryan, Anthony Martial and Jesse Lingard are players who operate on the wing yet have a natural tendency to cut inside.
United’s width comes from overlapping full-backs at the moment, not from wingers, but the arrival of Ivan Perisic would change that dramatically.
Perisic is your typical, traditional winger. More than comfortable crossing off either foot, Perisic regularly tormented Serie A defenders last season with twists and turns to find space before firing in a cross uncontested.
He would bring something so different to Jose Mourinho in that he’d provide both the width and crosses into the box a player like Romelu Lukaku could thrive off, and it’s something you feel Mourinho has been planning for a long time.
United were stagnant so often in attack last year because defences knew we would cut back inside or pass to an overlapping full-back. Perisic would change that and provide an unpredictability which causes havoc for any defence – we certainly need that.
And the fact Perisic is a workhorse too makes him a very typical Mourinho signing.
He’ll cover every blade of grass and put just as much effort in helping in defence than he will in spearheading attacks down the wing.
For me, the arrival of Lukaku is a major reason why signing Perisic makes a lot of sense.
United should be gearing their style of play towards the big Belgian to maximise his goal potential and bringing in a pacy winger like Perisic, who put in over 150 more crosses last season than any of United’s widemen, is a major step in that direction.
From a counter-attacking perspective, Perisic also ticks the boxes and for me there is nothing more exciting than seeing United in full flow on the counter-attack.
We’ve been too slow in our transitions from defence to attack but the Croatian would give us another explosive option to hit hard and fast in attack.
Mourinho is a man who loves his specialist signings and if you look at United’s current squad we don’t have many natural wingers.
Martial is a striker, Mata and Mkhitaryan are both No10’s and I’d argue Lingard is the only player who you can class as a natural winger, even though he does love to cut inside too. That is where Perisic would come in and bring balance to the squad, another reason why his arrival would make sense.
Against teams who play with a narrow defence, a player like Perisic could be the key to unlocking that door.
But the main thing to consider about Perisic is this – if Mourinho wants him, that’s good enough for me.
As fans, we’re only privy to what we see and learn about a player and how he can fit into the team but Mourinho’s scouts will have been tracking Perisic’s progress for months. If they decide he’d be a good signing, they’ll have evidence to back that up – more so than any of us fans can have.
We’d all have turned our noses up last at signing Eric Bailly if somebody like Mats Hummels was available instead but look how good Bailly has turned out? Until Mourinho gives me a reason to think otherwise, I trust his judgement completely with new signings.
The added competition for Martial should help him raise his game as well and I don’t see that as a negative, especially after his performance against LA Galaxy where it looked like the fire was back in his belly.
Competition is healthy in any position no matter how good a player is and Perisic could help bring the 2015/16 Martial back to the fore, something all United fans are desperate to see.
Perisic might be 28 and overpriced but if he can come into this United squad and provide say ten to 15 assists next season, there won’t be any United fan at that stage who questions his price or whether it was right to sign him.
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