There a few footballers to whom Tottenham Hotspur have been linked to for what feels like time immemorial. Ivan Perisic is one of those names. It feels like we’ve been linked with a move for the Croatian international for as long as I’ve been a Spurs fan. In my spreadsheet of Tottenham transfer links (now at nearly 70 names!), by Perisic’s name under the “First Linked” column I put, simply, It’s been 84 years.
The interesting thing about Perisic is that, despite turning 33 this year, he’s coming off an extremely successful season at Inter Milan, playing mostly as a left wingback. His stats are gaudy — 11 goals and nine assists for club and country this season — and he’s been an effective outlet on the left flank for Inter. As a wingback, he’s in the 99th percentile for npxG+xA, he links up well with attacking midfielders and forwards, and is one of the most experienced wingbacks in football.
He’s also a free agent this summer, and according to ESPN’s James Olley, he’s an option for Antonio Conte and Tottenham.
Perisic would by definition not be a long-term signing for Tottenham. I don’t especially care, because it would absolutely rule. He’s the kind of progressive, experienced attacking wingback that would thrive under Conte — hell, he HAS thrived under Conte already — especially in big matches. He’s an old dude, but with a player like Ryan Sessegnon behind him he wouldn’t be relied on to play 3000 minutes in a season, and would be a VAST improvement over what we’ve seen from both Sess and Sergio Reguilon over the course of the season. Perisic also can play further up the pitch as a more advanced midfielder, which would give Conte some additional tactical options.
Perisic is still in talks with Inter to possibly extend his contract further, and is also heavily linked with Juventus should he leave. But Perisic has worked with Conte before — they know each other, and the possibility of a reunion in North London would be exciting. Olley cites reports in Italy that Perisic is looking for wages of £100k/wk over three years, well within Spurs’ budget, though they might not want to commit to that length of contract.
Look, I’m not going to delude myself into thinking that this is a likely signing. But if Spurs clinch Champions League football after Sunday, I’m not going to NOT say that it’s a possibility. If Spurs are trying to kick themselves up a gear to make a title challenge next season, boy howdy they could do a hell of a lot worse than a short term deal for Old Man Perisic. Allow a blogger to dream a bit here.