Bayern Munich signing Ivan Perisic: Second choice but smart move? | Sports| German football and major international sports news | DW | 13.08.2019
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Bayern Munich signing Ivan Perisic: Second choice but smart move?

After their long pursuit of Leroy Sane was ended by injury, Bayern Munich have moved for Ivan Perisic. The Croatian returns to the Bundesliga having scored in a World Cup final but, at 30, is he the right man for Bayern?

Bayern Munich left the world in no doubt about their primary transfer target this summer, with their very public — and ultimately doomed — courting of Manchester City winger Leroy Sane. 

But one wide player was never likely to be enough for a squad with only two senior wingers. "We have lost three players in attack in Frank Ribery, Arjen Robben and James (Rodriguez) and so far have no new signings there," said Robert Lewandowski recently, helpfully summing up the situation for his bosses.

Even so, the signing of Ivan Perisic from Inter Milan, initially on loan, will inevitably be seen by some as something of a climb down. Rather than one of Germany's best young talents, the champions have ended up with a 30-year-old with significant pedigree but without the profile to set the pulses racing for some of the club's fans.

Big game player

Is that fair? As always, time will be the best judge, but the Croatian certainly ticks a lot of boxes. He's powerful, direct and experienced while goals in the 2018 World Cup semifinal and final demonstrate his ability to perform in the sort of high-pressure games Bayern will inevitably face as the season progresses.

Ivan Perisic (Reuters/M. Dalder)

Ivan Perisic scored Croatia's first goal in their World Cup final defeat

With the Bavarians' first league game now less than a week away, the speed at which Perisic should be able to integrate will also have played a part in the move, reportedly a €5 million ($5.6 million) loan with an option to buy for €20 million. Perisic is familiar with the Bundesliga, having spent two seasons each at Borussia Dortmund and Wolfsburg between 2011 and 2015 and will presumably be comfortable with the language and culture too.

"It's a wish to have everyone on board as early as possible, but it's not easy today, every club is exposed to market movements, but I see no problem integrating them in time," Kovac said about potential new arrivals on Saturday. 

Kovac's compatriot

The arrival of Perisic will be perceived as a victory for Kovac. His compatriot was a key figure when the Bayern boss coached Croatia in the 2014 World Cup and reportedly the choice of Kovac, rather than sporting director Hasan Salihamidzic, CEO Karl Heinz Rummenigge or club President Uli Hoeness. 

Ivan Perisic (picture-alliance/dpa)

Perisic celebrates a goal for Dortmund in 2012

With that internal political victory will come added responsibility, and Perisic could well serve as a bellwether of Kovac's ability to judge a player.

But Kovac clearly trusts the new man and with Serge Gnabry and Kingsley Coman both having had injury concerns in preseason, having an alternative is key.

With an aerial threat and physicality that neither Gnabry or Coman possess and a degree of comfort playing as a second striker, Perisic gives Bayern further tactical flexibility.

He may not be the most exciting signing but Perisic has the tools and the experience to improve Bayern's squad, if not necessarily their first XI. That part may come in the next few weeks.

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