Ivan Perisic Explains Manchester United Snub, Opens Door to Future Move

Gianni Verschueren@ReverschPassFeatured ColumnistDecember 1, 2018

LONDON, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 28:  Ivan Perisic of Internazionale runs with the ball during the Group B match of the UEFA Champions League between Tottenham Hotspur and FC Internazionale at Wembley Stadium on November 28, 2018 in London, United Kingdom. (Photo by Dan Istitene/Getty Images)
Dan Istitene/Getty Images

Inter Milan winger Ivan Perisic has confirmed rumours he snubbed a move to Manchester United and opened the door to a Premier League switch in the future.

The Croat gave an interview to FourFourTwo (h/t The Independent's Jack de Menezes) and explained it was the arrival of coach Luciano Spalletti that kept him in the Italian fashion capital in 2017:

"It's true that an offer from Manchester United was on the table—I was really close to leaving Inter. When Luciano Spalletti arrived [in June 2017], he showed tremendous desire to keep me in the team and made it clear he didn't want to lose me. 

"That was very encouraging, and I haven't regretted my decision to stay at Inter. In football, small details in these situations are key."

When asked about a potential move to the Premier League or La Liga, Perisic said:

"In football, you never say never. From the beginning of my career, I've had the ambition to play in as many big leagues as possible, and I still have that desire to test myself in other leagues. And I mean in the Spanish or English leagues.

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"I hope Inter fans understand my point of view. I'm an athlete and a professional, I like challenges and this is my driving force. What the future will bring, I don't know. Now I'm focused on Inter as we try to make a bigger step forward from last season."

He also said the admiration of United boss Jose Mourinho is flattering and motivates him to work harder.

LONDON, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 28: Ivan Periic of Milano looks on during the UEFA Champions League Group B match between Tottenham Hotspur and FC Internazionale at Wembley Stadium on November 28, 2018 in London, United Kingdom. (Photo by TF-Images/TF-Images v
TF-Images/Getty Images

Links between the 29-year-old and the Red Devils have been persistent for several years and haven't died down in the 2018-19 season.

Earlier this month, Turin-based newspaper Tuttosport (h/t Football Italia) reported the Nerazzurri could try to land Paul Pogba by using Perisic, and in October, the Mirror's John Richardson stated Mourinho is still keen on the player.

United have lacked an elite winger for several seasons, and Perisic profiles as an ideal fit. The former Borussia Dortmund and Wolfsburg man stands out for his tremendous range and high work rate, which are qualities Mourinho demands from his players.

He bagged three goals at the FIFA World Cup―including one against England in the semi-finals―and has crossed the double-digit goal mark in Serie A the last two seasons, underlining his versatile skill set.

Here is that goal against the Three Lions:

These latest comments indicate Perisic could still end up at Old Trafford, given he already came close to making the switch in 2017 and has a desire to play in England. Inter already trail Juventus by nine points in Serie A, and if the Nerazzurri have another disappointing season, he could well leave the club next summer.