Everton have made some great progress during this summer. The transfer window has featured big names as well as smaller ones, but might still be incomplete for the Toffees. Defensive help is still required, even with the first three games of the season resulting in victories for the club; and while names linger like Unai Nunez, Fikayo Tomori and Jean-Clair Todibo, the offensive attention may yet to be complete for Carlo Ancelotti and Marcel Brands.
Ivan Perisic, unwanted by the club that he was loaned to, Bayern Munich, or loaned by, Inter Milan, is looking to play consistently somewhere this season. Everton are reportedly interested in the player and should they get him, he could provide something a bit different than either Hirving Lozano or Thomas Lemar.
Ivan Perisic: Definitely not terrible, and yet unwanted?
Coming off of a season of trophies from every tournament Bayern Munich found themselves involved in, there will be few seasons less disappointing than the following one. But the 31-year-old from Split, Croatia is determined to play and while I’m usually a huge proponent of youth before experience, this move could make sense for everyone involved.
For Perisic, the situation seems cut and dried so to speak. He is unwanted in both Italy and Germany, while the Blues could use additional help wide with young players that could grow and learn while splitting time with the Croatian winger. His age is likely an issue for some with young talent brimming over the edges, but for the Toffees that can be as useful as anything.
For the player and Don Carlo both, one can see the positives without looking far. While Perisic would see playtime more consistently than most other destinations, Everton can actually grow the young talent they have. The likes of Richarlison, Anthony Gordon and Alex Iwobi can still be grown gently, even with the heightened expectations of the new campaign. It wouldn’t be unreasonable to see goal consistency increase from a move like this because of the further success and professionalism that a player like Perisic brings to any club when he comes to it. A similar example might be the Willian from Chelsea to Arsenal move; quite simply, it is a chance for the player to play while the younger players learn and absorb in a less immediately demanding environments.
It is just another opportunity for Ancelotti to purchase experience and guile from across the world to supercharge his team of young talent. While the aforementioned Lozano and Lemar offer youth and potential to grow further with the likes of Dominic Calvert-Lewin, Richarlison, Moise Kean and Anthony Gordon, they would very much all still be actually growing together. Perisic offers the potentially cheaper wage rate over the short term for all of his ability, knowledge and experience. The more his brain is picked, the better the deal ultimately becomes for Everton.
Upsides and Downsides: Weighing a move for Perisic
While the upside to such a signing is the experience, the guile, the ability and the attention to detail that comes with a long career, their are downsides as well. For Perisic, it is more an issue of Father Time gaining upon him than any defect of character or ability. Time is unbeaten across all competitions and in all circumstances.
The well-travelled 31-year-old is capable of playing on both wings, though he has primarily stayed on the left wing where his left foot has been deadliest. The Blues have a need for someone more consistent on the right side though, where Theo Walcott is clearly past his prime and Alex Iwobi has looked decent on, but against lower league opposition. James Rodriguez has been on the right of the 4-3-3, but if Ancelotti wants to bring him back into the middle as a #10, then a wily winger will be needed. Additionally, if the manager is looking to push Richarlison back into a striker role then the Croatian international with 90 caps would be an excellent role model for Gordon.
The downside obviously is that this is a short term fix relatively speaking and so, this serves more so as a stop gap measure than as a plan for the future. That is, unless the future consists of someone who can be mentored by him for the couple years he likely would remain as a Toffee.
The risk of replacing one 31-year-old with another 31-year-old who has only performed better marginally seems to be more a matter of funds than of taste. Of course, were all things equal, one would likely take one of the two younger players.
And so it comes down to the easiest of choices. One takes the winger from Split should one be unable to acquire the funds for either of the aforementioned younger options. This, one must note, should still only be done at that particular juncture if funding was present to get the noted defensive innovations as well. Ultimately, this means that the acquisition of the player must be counted towards the bottom of priorities for the brain trust at the club.
With this said, Everton would do well to sign him should they do so, but only if the team they are bringing him into is truly a solid lot. Without the solid foundation of depth at the defensive backline, the addition of a name like Perisic could be dulled by fundamental flaws in team design and practical volition.