Ivan Perisic appears to be edging towards the exit door at San Siro, with Arsenal widely linked with a move for the Inter winger.
Inter chief Giuseppe Marotta revealed Perisic has asked to leave the club but says there have been no offers as yet despite Arsenal boss Unai Emery confirming the Gunners’ interest in acquiring an attacking midfielder in the January window.
Having thrilled for Croatia at last year’s World Cup, the signing of Perisic might well excite Arsenal fans. But there is a reason Inter would entertain his departure.
The 29-year-old, who turns 30 this weekend, has not been able to repeat his sparkling form from Russia in Serie A this term and his statistics do not compare favourably to last season either.
With the help of Opta, we take a look at why Perisic and Inter are ready to part ways.
AUTOMATIC STARTER NO MORE
This time a year ago, Perisic was one of the first names on the team sheet for Inter. He started 21 of their first 21 games in the 2017-18 Serie A season. The same is not quite true this time around.
Even before sitting out Sunday’s defeat to Torino amid talk of a switch to Arsenal, Perisic has not always been relied on.
While the Nerazzurri’s involvement in the Champions League may be a factor – Perisic started all six group games – he has been limited to just 14 starts in the league, making 18 appearances in all.
Despite Matteo Politano and Keita Balde Diao still getting to grips with life at Inter, Perisic’s league minutes are down from 1890 at this stage last season to 1313.
GOAL THREAT DIMINISHED
Perisic showed at the World Cup the threat he can offer cutting in from the left and that was evident last term, with the former Wolfsburg man having tallied seven goals through matchday 21 in Serie A.
This year, however, that tally has fallen to three goals, low even considering his less prominent role in the side.
Looking further at the numbers, it should come as no surprise that Perisic is not scoring as regularly. Having attempted 71 shots at this time last year, with 23 on target, he has 49 shots this time around. Just 10 have been on target.
Perisic has converted 6.12 per cent of his shots this season (9.86 per cent after 21 games last year), hitting the target with 31.25 per cent of his efforts (down from 40.35 per cent).
WANING CREATIVE FORCE
While goals are a huge part of Perisic’s game, his role in past seasons has chiefly focused on supplying star forward Mauro Icardi with crosses from the left.
With the pair often linking up to devastating effect, the Croatia star had already tallied six assists in Serie A this time last year. In 2018-19, though, he has supplied just two.
Icardi has evidently suffered from Perisic’s indifferent campaign, having netted a still impressive but comparatively disappointing nine goals from 18 league games.
The supply line is not performing as consistently this season. Perisic had created 48 chances by last January; this time that figure stands at 25.
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