According to multiple reports in recent days, Manchester United are closing in on a big-money deal for Inter Milan winger Ivan Perisic.
The Croatian attacker emerged as a surprise target for Jose Mourinho in May and talks have been slowly but surely been progressing since then. The two clubs are close to agreeing on a fee likely to be in the region of £48 million and, per Sky Sports, the player himself is very keen on the move.
However, many United fans are sceptical about the 28-year-old having really only witnessed him on the international stage where he has put in some fairly underwhelming performances. These stats (provided by Squawka) comparing him against his competition currently at Old Trafford prove supporters’ apprehension is very well founded.
Of the metrics we analysed, Perisic does lead in the most important one; goals scored. However, these figures are massively skewed in his favour. Inter hit the net an admirable 72 times last season while United managed just 54 league goals meaning bagging 11 for I Nerazzurri is not much more impressive than 6 for Mourinho’s side.
For the Split-native, 2016/17 was considered probably the best of his career. For Anthony Martial, it was a not quite textbook case of second season syndrome but one he’s sure to improve on, given the chance.
For Henrikh Mkhitaryan, last term was a turbulent debut season where he only earned a spot in the team in November. The Armenian endured similar struggles in his first season at Borussia Dortmund before making his mark in the next.
In Marcus Rashford’s case, he did spend some of the time measured leading the line but he’ll likely be pushed back out to the left wing next year following Romelu Lukaku’s arrival. However effective Perisic could be for a season or two, the primary focus for the Reds should be giving the Wythenshawe lad as much time as possible.
Finally, Juan Mata has been ever-dependable for United for almost three and a half years now. His record in big games humbles that of even Kevin De Bruyne or Mesut Ozil and is now one of the side’s longest-serving and most experienced players.
The stats Perisic boasts are not unimpressive, he chips in with a decent number of goals and assists as any winger worth his salt should. However, he does so in a league of lesser quality for a team that scores 33% more goals anyway.
He’s not worth the fee the Italian club are demanding as he simply doesn’t offer enough to make it a worthwhile move. Money is no issue for Mourinho and Ed Woodward but harming the development of two of Europe’s most promising talents or dropping two fan favourites will most certainly cause problems.
If the Special One is determined to make a change at left-wing, the new arrival needs to bring far more to the table than Perisic to justify taking the place of any of the above four.