In a summer that was supposed to break all kinds of records, Bayern Munich fans have been left somewhat disappointed after endless rumors yet no official signings. It looked as if Bayern fans were finally going to get a long-term replacement for the legendary pair Robbery with the signing of Leroy Sané. In what can only be described in a cruel twist of fate, Sané got seriously injured in the Community Shield and his arrival to Munich is now in jeopardy.
Quick solutions were therefore needed. Things moved fast since the first report that Bayern was already in advanced stages to sign Perišić five days ago. He is now a Bayern player for at least a year, with an option for the club to sign him permanently after that.
This article will evaluate the pros and cons of this newly acquired signing. I will mention directly that I believe this signing is a good short-term solution to Bayern’s current problems, although Perišić will act no more than a depth signing.
1. An experienced, versatile player who has previous Bundesliga experience
Perišić, who turned 30 this February, is an experienced player with previous experience in the Bundesliga, Champions League, and the most eminent international competitions. Able to use both feet, Perišić can play on both the right and left wing. In his first-ever interview with Bayern, the Split-native also mentioned that he played as a striker in his early days and was open to playing in whatever position needed.
Playing a total of four Bundesliga campaigns, Perišić will know what to expect. Whether playing against Dortmund in the league or against Liverpool in the Champions League, Ivan has done it before and will be used to the situation.
2. A player who has had his best years in his most recent club
Perišić had enjoyed the best years of his career at Inter Milan. In four years, he was able to score 37 goals. In the two seasons before the 2018 World Cup, Perišić scored 22 goals and assisted 17. Internationally, Ivan continued to enjoy success, as he was a vital contributor to Croatia’s historic 2018 World Cup run.
It was, therefore, no surprise, that Premier League teams such as Manchester United were highly interested in his signature at the time.
Perišić scored eight goals and assisted three in the 2018-2019 season, which is not as good as in previous years, but also is by no means bad. If Perišić had his best years in Inter, one might wonder why they wanted to get rid of him. The answer is simple: the winger simply does not fit in new head-coach Antonio Conte’s system. Preferring a 3-5-2, in which the wide midfielders need to be defensive, Conte will put his trust in more defensive players such as Dalbert and Matteo Politano.
3. A player who wants to play for Niko Kovac
Perišić has nothing but praise for his new head coach. Before the move, Perišić explained how Niko Kovac’s management influenced him for the better when the Bayern coach was in charge of Croatia’s national team. The two remained close according to Perišić, congratulating each other for the accomplishments they were able to achieve in Germany.
Having someone willing to fight not only for the team, but also for the coach, can only be regarded as a positive.
4. A cheap short-term solution
Signing Perišić for a €5 million loan and possibly another €20 million after the first year is good business from a financial standpoint. Considering the unfortunate circumstances that surrounded the Sané injury, Bayern needed to act fast. Even if Sané had never been injured and had come to Munich before Perišić, I would still consider this a good move. As hinted by many Bayern players, the squad needs depth to compete for all the trophies this upcoming season. Perišić is a cheap but solid short-term solution and a player that adds experience to a thin squad.
1. No X-factor
The Leroy Sané saga was an almost four-months-long back-and-forth affair that gave many Bayern supporters sleepless nights. After his injury, websites and journalists questioned whether Bayern would sign Sané and began to report about Bayern’s interest in Ivan Perišić instead. Understandably, this seemed quite underwhelming for many Bayern supporters.
Perišić is not as good as Leroy Sané, Kingsley Coman, or Serge Gnabry. But he also is not supposed to be Bayern’s new X-factor that acts as a long-term solution for Robbery.
Despite being a crucial part of the Croatia team that reached a surprising World Cup final, it is highly doubtful that Perišić will rise up to be the match-winner in important Champions League games. Despite being seven years younger, both Sané and Coman have played more Champions League games than Perišić. It is fair to say he is not a veteran in the prestige competition of Europe.
Perišić is more of a depth player, whose presence will be important when starting players need a rest. When it comes to the more important games, Bayern will have to rely on other players.
2. On the decline?
In the last four years, Perišić has missed a total of 14 days (!) due to injury. His performances in the last four years have been his best, which may not be too surprising. The age 26-30 years old is considered to be the “prime” age for a footballer.
However, as mentioned before, he will turn 31 years old in February. Has he already hit his peak? Although a solid season, his 2018-2019 performance fell short of his two previous campaigns.
To be fair to Perišić, he has shown no signs that the level of his performances will drastically decline. However, it is not crazy to suggest that he has perhaps hit his peak, considering his age and the fact that the performance of most wingers indeed declines after the age of thirty.