Ivan Perisic joins Tottenham on two-year contract as Antonio Conte gets his man

The manager has been determined to add more experience and winning know-how to the Tottenham squad

Lawrence Ostlere
Tuesday 31 May 2022 16:27 BST
Ivan Perisic poses with the Tottenham shirt
Ivan Perisic poses with the Tottenham shirt (Getty)

Tottenham have signed Croatian international Ivan Perisic on a two-year contract as Antonio Conte continues to mould his new-look Spurs squad.

Perisic, 33, was a free agent after his contract wound down at Inter Milan. He had been a key player in Conte’s Italian title winning side at Inter in 2020-21, where the winger was deployed as an attacking wing-back, and although Perisic is versatile it is likely he will play a similar role in this improving Tottenham team.

Conte joined Spurs in November last year and was immediately given funds to improve the squad. He turned to Serie A as the club signed winger Dejan Kulusevski and midfielder Rodrigo Bentancur from Juventus and Cristian Romero from Atalanta, who all played a key part in Spurs’ successful pursuit of the top four and a place in next season’s Champions League.

The manager has talked publicly about his desire to change the club’s policy of prioritising young players in the transfer market and instead bring in proven winners, and in Perisic Spurs have exactly that. He has had a hugely successful playing career, winning trophies at Borussia Dortmund, Wolfsburg and Bayern Munich as well as Inter. He has earned 113 caps for Croatia, with 32 goals, and memorably scored in the World Cup semi-final against England at Russia 2018, before scoring again in their defeat by France in the final.

Perisic said he was drawn both by the lure of the Premier League and a reunion with his former manager, Conte.

He told the Spurs website: “When I got in contact with the coach [Conte] and the sporting director [Fabio Paratici] I told them that I really wanted to come here and play in the Premier League, ever since I started playing professional football. It was always my dream to play in all best five leagues in the world and PL was the missing puzzle and now I’m here and I want to do my best like I did before in all my other leagues and my hope is it will be perfect.

“It’s a privilege to work with a coach like this. We did well in Inter, we won the league after 10 or 11 years, it was really a perfect year, I’m really happy to seee him again. He’s living football, every minute, every hour, every day, even when he’s sleeping he’s thinking about football. I like his charcater and I know we’re gonna do a great job here.”

Tottenham have signed Ivan Perisic on a two-year deal (Luca Bruno/AP)
Tottenham have signed Ivan Perisic on a two-year deal (Luca Bruno/AP) (AP)

He revealed he had been “waiting” for Spurs to clinch their place in the Champions League at the end of the season.

“I was waiting, the last two or three games I was watching, and after the victory against Arsenal it was obvious that Tottenham were going to be in the Champions League. It was also good for me because I want to play in the best games.”

Perisic will add experience and winning know-how to a Tottenham squad that has long been accused of naivity and being a soft touch. He will also bring quality with his dribbing and excellent delivery from wide areas, as well his renowned work ethic.

“I’m going to bring a lot of hard work, I like to work a lot, and I like to work for the team. Only like this can you win something important. I can play several positions in the way Tottenham is playing now and I will bring a lot of experience because I used to play for a lot of great clubs. I can’t wait to play and to train and give my best.”

The transfer will provide competition for Ryan Sessegnon and Sergio Reguilon, Spurs’ existing options at left wing-back. Sessegnon won favour with Conte towards the end of last season, and Reguilon may now seek a move away from north London if he is to be third in the pecking order.

Perisic bid farewell to Inter on Instagram, writing: “After 254 games, 55 goals, 49 assists, 3 trophies and 18,934 minutes spent on the pitch wearing this glorious jersey; my journey here has come to an end. Even though every end means a new beginning it’s important to reflect back on these past years and show you my deepest appreciation for the work accomplished. ⁣⁣⁣⁣It was an unforgettable learning experience for me as a player and for my whole family.

⁣⁣⁣⁣“To the team, the staff, to all the employees but most importantly to the fans: you will always have a special place in my heart. I leave feeling privileged having this club in my portfolio.”

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