LONG-TERM Manchester United transfer target Ivan Perisic has been on fire this season for Inter, underling exactly why Jose Mourinho wanted the Croatian.
The United manager made it clear at the start of the summer that he wanted to bring in four players, but he admitted that may not be easy.
In July, Mourinho said: “Everybody knows because I said I would like four players.
“I asked for four players, and I’m ready to go from four to three because the market is difficult, because some clubs think the market is different from others.”
He brought in Romelu Lukaku, Nemanja Matic and Victor Lindelof, but failed to land the fourth target, which was Perisic.
Our friends at Football Whispers look at how he’s showing why Mourinho was so desperate to sign him in the summer.
The Red Devils did their best to bring him in, making a number of bids for Croatian winger Perisic, with the highest reaching £45million.
Inter Milan held firm though, refusing to sell the 28-year-old.
Mourinho said in August: “They are strong, they put up a good defence to keep someone who’s an important player for them. That’s football.”
Perisic has highlighted that importance so far this season for Inter, playing a crucial role in their unbeaten start to the Serie A season.
No player has more assists for the Italian side than Perisic’s three, while only Mauro Icardi (six goals) has scored more than the former Borussia Dortmund man’s three.
He and Icardi are at the top of the charts in terms of goals they have been directly involved in for Inter this season, both with six.
Only one-time Chelsea transfer target Lorenzo Insigne has more assists than Perisic in Serie A, while the Croatian is joint-seventh in terms of goals so far this campaign – which is a good return for a winger.
In terms of league goals, Lukaku is the one Manchester United player to score more than Perisic, while only Henrikh Mkhitaryan has more assists.
No-one has bettered his total of being directly involved in six goals – both Lukaku (five goals, one assist) and Mkhitaryan (five assists, one goal) have matched it.
Anthony Martial and Marcus Rashford – who are playing in the position Perisic would have played at Old Trafford if they had signed – both have one assist.
The Frenchman has scored three goals, while the young English prospect has one fewer.
But if United are hoping to go back in for Perisic in January, they could be disappointed once again.
Last month, Inter coach Luciano Spalletti claimed the winger’s future was at the San Siro.
“Perisic determined to stay,” he said.
“There was a moment (when he considered moving), but then he spoke like a footballer who is interested in doing the right thing for his professionalism and he drew a conclusion.”
And that was cemented by the 28-year-old signing a new two-year contract extension at Inter this month.
Nerazzurri director Piero Ausilio also revealed the player didn’t request a release clause when they renegotiated his deal after the transfer window had closed.
That means Man United would be unable to copy the likes of Paris Saint-Germain when they bought Neymar by paying the buyout clause to get their player.
Ausilio believes Inter persuaded Perisic to stay with their ambition for the future.
“Perisic still had a few years on his contract,” he said.
“Nobody ever denied that this offer arrived from Manchester United, but we have been working to convince him to stay at Inter and that our project could be just as successful as Manchester.
“The new contract was a consequence of that and only right.
“There is no release clause because we did not intend to propose one, nor was it requested by his entourage.”
With his stock rising after his impressive early-season form, combined with that new deal, the chances of Mourinho getting his fourth man look very slim indeed.
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