Chelsea and Inter star Ivan Perisic are said to have reached an agreement for a summer transfer.
When Perisic's contract at San Siro expires this summer, he will become a free agent, and Chelsea has moved quickly to secure his services. The Croatian international joined Inter from Wolsburg in 2015 and has remained in Italy ever since, albeit on loan to Bayern Munich during the 2019/20 season.
Last season, he was a significant member of Antonio Conte's Scudetto-winning team, and he has maintained that position under new head coach Simone Inzaghi. Perisic, a left-winger by trade, has excelled at left-wing-back under both Conte and Inzaghi in the previous two seasons.
Perisic has 22 goals and assists in 65 Serie A games over the previous two seasons, which is a very respectable total for someone in his position. According to Sport Mediaset in Italy, the 2018 World Cup runner-up has agreed to join Chelsea, with only his signature and a medical needed to complete the deal.
If Perisic joins the Blues, he will be a Coppa Italia winner after scoring a brace in the final to help Inter defeat Juventus. Perisic, 33, is past his prime, but he's in the best shape of his life, and he'd join Chelsea eager to help the Blues progress.
Chelsea's first-choice option, especially in their 3-4-3 style, is Ben Chilwell, but the Englishman has missed the majority of the season due to injury. He's back in training currently, but a return to the starting lineup appears unlikely, so adding a back-up or rotation option is going to be a priority this year.
Marcos Alonso is definitely a transitory option for Thomas Tuchel, as the two have clashed in multiple games this season, not least in the 2-2 draw against Wolves at home in early May. The Spaniard is said to be on his way out of Chelsea, with Barcelona leading the battle to recruit him and offer him a return to his homeland.
Emerson Palmieri is still on Chelsea's books despite spending the season on loan at Lyon, but considering that he was sent out this year and Alonso was preferred, his Chelsea career may be ended.
Ian Maatsen is also an option to Tuchel after impressing on loan at Coventry in the Championship this year. The Dutchman won Coventry's Young Player of the Year award after his eye-catching campaign, but he's already been linked with a move to Borussia Dortmund on another loan.
Is Perisic the answer?
Despite his advanced age, Perisic has shown no signs of slowing down, in fact, he appears to be in the best shape of his career in Italy. A strong and powerful runner, Perisic adds a goal-threat from the left flank, like Chilwell does, and would provide Tuchel with another option should Chilwell fall victim to another long-term injury.
With both Alonso and Emerson likely to depart, a new body in that position is required, and Perisic would be an excellent short-term option. His age means he'd be able to compete with Chilwell for two years, which would allow Maatsen to improve on loan before potentially joining the first-team squad.
Chilwell will reclaim his starting spot, so if Perisic is prepared to forego playing time to join Chelsea, it's a wonderful move for the Blues. Furthermore, given the large number of games played during a season, it's reasonable to expect Perisic to play a vital role in every competition if he joins Chelsea.
It's not a move that'll break the bank in terms of compensation or generate a lot of buzz, but it'd be smart business. Perisic might follow in the footsteps of Thiago Silva, who was a success story at Stamford Bridge after signing on a free transfer.
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