We’re basically waiting for confirmation that Tottenham Hotspur have finalized the signing of 16-year old Croatian defensive prodigy Luka Vuskovic, effective when he turns 18 in 2025. But on the heels of that story comes another one concerning Tottenham’s current and present Croatian, 34-year old Ivan Perisic.
Croatian website Tportal is now claiming that Vuskovic’s transfer opens a door for Perisic’s return to Croatian football, with the possibility of Ivan heading the other direction to Hajduk Split when the January transfer window opens.
This makes a ton of sense. Perisic isn’t a spring chicken anymore. He was signed to be Antonio Conte’s starting wingback after working with and winning a title with Conte at Inter Milan. There were numerous rumors linking Perisic away from the club this summer, but none of them came to fruition and under Ange Postecoglou Ivan has been a capable 2nd half substitute as a left sided attacking midfielder.
But he’s clearly not destined to be at Spurs long — he never was. And Split is both Perisic’s hometown and where he spent his formative years in Hajduk’s youth academy before moving to France at age 17. This would be a pretty spectacular homecoming for Perisic and would bring his career full circle, a thing that seems to appeal to some footballers as they near retirement.
Tportal suggests that Perisic returning to Hajduk Split might be part of the deal to bring Vuskovic to North London, with Spurs paying a €12m transfer fee “less the value of Ivan Perisic” which is hinted at about €2.5m. There’s no way to confirm that at the moment. I do wonder about Perisic’s wages — he’s currently making around £180k/wk at Spurs and a quick Google tells me that the highest wage earner in the Croatian league currently makes £19k/wk, literally 10% of Ivan’s current wages. I’m not sure how that works, unless Perisic agrees to take a serious haircut on his salary, something that he might be willing to do for a sentimental return to his hometown?
Anyway, it’s an interesting rumor and would continue Tottenham’s progression towards reducing its age profile under Postecoglou. Spurs get an aging player with an expiring contract off its books, basically trading in its current, increasingly creaky Croatian footballer into a younger, prettier model. Sounds pretty good to me.