News Live Scores
Goal United

Off the market! Euro 2016's best player Perisic is going nowhere

4:00 pm AEST 25/6/16
Perisic scores against Spain
The Inter forward has been superb for Croatia and it will take a lot of money and persistence for a big Premier League club to land him from Serie A


Croatia are preparing to face Cristiano Ronaldo's Portugal for a place in the quarter-finals, but it is one of their own who has truly set the standard in France and announced himself as one of the continent's best players.

Ivan Perisic's performance against Spain left him second only to Davor Suker in goals and assists for Croatia at the European Championship, after he provided one of each in the 2-1 victory over the holders.

Ante Cacic's side are beginning to look like a team that can could go all the way after three exciting displays in the group stage. The likes of Germany, Spain and France have failed to stamp their authority on the tournament and are also on the other side of the knockout draw.

Before the tournament began, all eyes were on Real Madrid midfielder Luka Modric and his Barcelona rival Ivan Rakitic. However, Croatia have shown themselves to be a team with more than two superstars.

Some of Europe's elite clubs - Barcelona, Chelsea and Arsenal amongst them - have taken note of Perisic's devastating form, but Inter value him as their prized asset.

However, Chelsea and Arsenal, despite taking a casual interest in Perisic, both have other priorities in the transfer market while Barcelona are focusing on bolstering their defence.

Sources close to the player have told Goal that a move this summer is consequently unlikely, despite Perisic's ambition of one day playing in England.

Inter's recent takeover by the Suning Holdings Group has strengthened their hand financially, with president Erick Thohir pouring cold water on the possibility of a sale in recent weeks.

Perisic initially had to fight for his place under Roberto Mancini but his form at the end of last season was superb and included a run of four goals in four games in March.

He is now adored by Inter and Croatia fans alike for his direct, physical style and goalscoring ability from wide areas.

It would take a serious offer to unsettle Perisic and the kind of fee needed to persuade Inter to sell is skyrocketing based on his form at the Euros, and the way he has announced himself to a wider audience.

He has become supremely popular in Croatia - even shaving his country's borders into his hair for the opening match against Turkey - and Cacic has acknowledged his importance.

"Ivan has played at a top level for the last couple of years," said Cacic. "He fits really well. It's probably the atmosphere in the team - when everything works so well, players can perform at this kind of level."

Perisic's current status is a world away from his humble upbringing on his father's farm in Omis, just outside of Split, where he would help out while also trying to make it as a professional in Hajduk Split's academy. He wears a tattoo on his leg that depicts his former life.

He moved to Sochaux in France as a 17-year-old having never played a professional game, before heading to Belgium and winning the Footballer of the Year award with Cercle Brugge as the Jupiler League's top scorer.

Jurgen Klopp and Borussia Dortmund were paying attention and signed him but Perisic fell out with the now-Liverpool manager over a lack of playing time and ended up at Inter after a spell at Wolfsburg

Despite winning two German Cups and a Bundesliga title, it is only now that Perisic is shining brightly enough to be talked about in the same breath as his colleagues Modric and Rakitic. 

Goals from midfield are essential for Croatia, who are unlikely to be able to rely upon Mario Mandzukic and Nikola Kalinic to net on a consistent basis, and Perisic will be the key force they rely upon.

Goal journalists are powered by the Samsung Galaxy S7 and Gear 360