Why Ivan Perisic needs a Bundesliga return
Background image: Dronepicr, CC-BY-2.0
After four mixed years in Italy, Ivan Perisic could depart Internazionale. The Croatian was cast to Lombardy forest in the dreaded company of Mauro Icardi and Radja Nainggolan. Although not lacking options, a return to the Bundesliga is perfect to reignite his staggering career. Bayern Munich offers the best option.
Antonio Conte ushered in a new era at Inter Milan. Not that predecessor Luciano Spalletti's stint was entirely disastrous. The Nerazzurri sneaked into Champions League paradise, ahead of San Siro-cotenants AC Milan. This the Tuscan native achieved for the second successive campaign. Conte, though, was always the anointed choice.
For all his tactical ingenuity, Spalletti wasn't welcomed. Club president Jindong Zhang pursued Conte relentlessly against insurmountable odds. Spalletti was never more than a stalling tactic until the ex-Juventus manager was ready to take the seat.
When he arrived in May, Conte set out to stamp authority. While both Icardi and Nainggolan were banished, Perisic got a chance to prove his worth. There were concerns whether the 30-year-old would fit into the new project. After Inter's 1-0 defeat to Manchester United in the International Champions Cup, his boss made it clear he didn’t.
Conte's assertion only confirmed the obvious: Perisic’s career is in decline. Following finishing a World Cup runner up in Russia, the Croat disappointed last season, contributing only 11 goals in over 40 appearances. He often cast a frustrated figure. It led to him submitting a transfer request in January amid interest from Arsenal.
Perisic reached his peak two years ago. He racked up double figures for goals in two successive campaigns. That made him the ambidextrous winger Manchester United craved to deliver pin-point crosses to Romelu Lukaku. However, the Inter attacker turned down the big-money move in favour of a five-year extension.
Perisic may be grieving he did. Now, he's stranded at a career crossroad. Bayern is keen to help. According to Sky Germany, there's already an agreement to sign him on a season-long loan with the option of a permanent switch at 2019/20's end.
Bayern represents a fresh start. A late bloomer, Perisic began his career in France with Sochaux before spending a year on loan at Belgian club K.S.V. Roeselare. Form there convinced Club Brugge to sign him in August 2009. Two seasons after, the Split-born was on the move again, joining Jurgen Klopp's Borussia Dortmund.
In Germany, Perisic developed into a modern-day winger. Although in and out of Dortmund's first team, he dazzled when called upon, producing some memorable performances and exceptional goals – like the scorching volley from outside the box against Arsenal on the club's Champions League return.
Perisic soon fell out of favour at Dortmund. Fortunately for him, Wolfsburg offered a lifeline. There, he was afforded the game time to enhance his career. The attacker's most productive season was 2013/14, in which he netted 10 Bundesliga goals and assisted four.
Perisic can rediscover such form at Bayern. Arjen Robben and Frank Ribery's departures make that task easier.
Niko Kovac is known for his 4-2-3-1, with three attackers behind Robert Lewandowski. A chameleon of a footballer, Perisic is suited to a side which focuses on possession, pressing and counter-attacking. He will almost stroll into a Bayern team needing wide men at present. His intensity, pace and technique will all be valuable.
On top of that, Perisic already knows the terrain and language. The prospect of working alongside countryman Kovac, who coached him at national level between 2013-15, should be an extra motivation.
Over to you Ivan. Don't hesitate.