Ivan Perisic had a pretty good game against Sheffield United on Saturday. He came in as a late substitute and was involved in both of Tottenham Hotspur’s goals in their dramatic come from behind win. He certainly gave Spurs fans a lot of good feelings, which is good because we won’t be seeing him for a while. The club announced today that Perisic sustained a “complex ACL injury” in non-contact training this week and will undergo surgery, missing the rest of the season.
We can confirm that Ivan Perisic has suffered a complex Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) injury in his right knee.— Tottenham Hotspur (@SpursOfficial) September 20, 2023
The experienced Croatia international sustained the injury in non-contact training and will undergo surgery.
Wishing you well in your recovery, Ivan pic.twitter.com/U9BMv2U7Kb
Ouch. Crap. Oof. That’s just about as bad an injury as you can have as a footballer. The recovery time for your average ACL injury is about 9-12 months, and considering Ivan’s now in the final year of his Spurs contract, this raises the possibility that we might have just watched the last match he’ll play in a Tottenham shirt. By comparison, Rodrigo Bentancur sustained a similar injury back in February, and I think we’d all be happy to see him back playing matches at 100% by Christmas.
Tottenham are already wafer thin in defense, and Perisic’s injury means they now have fewer options in the attacking third as well — Manor Solomon and Brennan Johnson can of course play in that left sided attacking role, as can (theoretically) Bryan Gil. But none of them have the ability to ping in accurate crosses to Richarlison’s head the way Perisic does, and his experience is unparalleled. He’s not a player who is long for Tottenham even under the best of circumstances, but he’s pretty great as a super-sub.
That said, this might present an opportunity for someone from Tottenham’s U21 squad to step up. Spurs have a manager in Ange Postecoglou who will use and trust youngsters to step up when required. The U21s are FLYING at the moment and are coming off of a 5-0 dismantling of an actual (albeit rotated) League 2 side in Colchester United in the EFL Trophy. Yago Santiago is one player who has really stepped up his game this season; perhaps he gets bumped up to first team training now and given an opportunity to impress.
Still, this puts a pretty fine point on how any significant injury can have a cascading effect on this squad in particular until Tottenham have an opportunity to create and bed in their positional depth. Perisic isn’t a key cog in this Tottenham machine, but Spurs will almost certainly notice his absence.