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Perisic reveals how close he came to Man Utd move

02:01 SAST 2018/12/01
Ivan Perisic Inter 2018-19
The 29-year-old was persuaded to turn his back on an offer from the Red Devils but would not rule out making a move to England in the future

Ivan Perisic says he was tempted to leave Inter for Manchester United last year.

The Croatian winger was heavily linked to the Premier League side throughout the summer of 2017 but ended up signing a five-year contract.

Although Perisic was flattered by Jose Mourinho's attention, he was persuaded to remain at San Siro by coach Luciano Spalletti.

“It’s true that an offer from Manchester United was on the table – I was really close to leaving Inter," he told FourFourTwo.

“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.

“Admiration from a coach like Mourinho is definitely something that flattered me. It’s confirmation of hard work and good performances. When you’re praised by a guy like Mourinho – the manager of a huge club like Man United – it’s difficult not to think about such an offer. I’m glad he has a high opinion of me. These things motivate me to work and train hard, to achieve the best performances.”

United are reported to still be interested in the 29-year-old, and he admits he could still make a switch to the Premier League or La Liga.

“In football, you never say never,” he says. “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.

“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.”