Having signed Victor Lindelof and Romelu Lukaku, Manchester United are looking to do further business in the summer transfer window, with Inter Milan’s Ivan Perisic rumoured to be Jose Mourinho’s latest target.
The two sides have been haggling over a deal for a while, but have failed to agree to a transfer so far with Perisic now having joined the rest of the Inter squad for their preseason trip to China.
However, Mourinho has identified Perisic as a key player in his plans to build a United team capable of challenging for multiple trophies this season, so the Red Devils will likely continue their pursuit of the Croat.
Here are five things you may not have known about the United target:
This summer, while many footballers were off on holiday, Perisic spent his time doing something a little more productive: playing beach volleyball for Croatia at a professional tournament.
His decision to participate in the tournament shocked everyone, including the Inter Milan management, but the 28-year-old was simply fulfilling a lifelong dream.
“This was always my dream. I have been playing beach volleyball since I was 10. I’m very passionate about this game and every summer I have been practising with my friend,” Perisic said.
“I’d like to thank everyone who has given me the opportunity to play with the best beach volleyball players in the world. It felt amazing – even though I lost.”
Manchester United vs Liverpool has long been regarded as the biggest game in English football, and if Perisic makes the switch to Old Trafford the derby matchup will hold even more significance for him.
The Croat played under Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp at Borussia Dortmund, and the two had a prickly relationship, with Perisic unhappy about his lack of playing time.
In response, Klopp reprimanded him: “Public whining belongs to kindergarten, not to the world of adults. If he doesn’t play, a football professional should shut his mouth, work hard and make the coach select him – not complain about it to the reporters.”
Although Perisic is only 28, he’s already played for seven clubs in his professional career, and hasn’t crossed 100 appearances for any of them. The Croat has played in his home country, as well as France, Belgium, Germany, and Italy.
Perisic has usually moved in search of a stage where he could both show off his undeniable talent and compete for major honours, but none of his transfers have brought him that, so far.
Will Manchester United be the club where he achieves his goals and settles in for a longer stint?
Six years ago, as a dynamic attacking midfielder for Club Brugge, Perisic lit up the Belgian league.
The then-22-year-old scored 22 times for his club, finishing as the top scorer in the Belgian Pro League and being named the Player of the Year for the 2010-11 season.
It was this form that led to Klopp’s Dortmund sealing the Croat’s signature in the summer of 2011.
Perisic was Croatia’s top scorer in Euro 2016 qualifying, and he’s been a reliable goalscorer throughout his career. Not only that, the Croat often makes the highlight reels with his goalscoring exploits.
Arsenal fans may well remember.
As will Cameroon fans.
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