'I expected him to stay!' - Perisic move from Inter to Tottenham surprises Olic

·2-min read

Ivan Perisic's move to Tottenham from Inter came as a surprise to Ivica Olic, his former Croatia team-mate who is now assistant manager of the national team.

The 33-year-old winger left Italy following the expiration of his contract to join Spurs on a free transfer, where he will reunite with former Inter boss Antonio Conte.

He stands among a number of early additions made by Conte ahead of the new season such as Fraser Forster and Yves Bissouma, as Spurs look to consolidate their top-four position in the 2022-23 season.

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Perisic's move to Spurs brings an end to a seven-year association with Inter, with whom he won the Serie A in 2020-21 and the Coppa Italia in 2021-22, and Olic thought the Nerazzurri would find a way to keep him.

"To be honest I was a little surprised he went to England - he had a very good season at Inter and I expected him to stay," Olic told Stats Perform.

"I didn't think Inter would just let go of him like that.

"Ivan has played in Germany, France and now Italy for the past few years. But we had talked about the fact that England had always been a sore point for him.

"I'm not saying it was a life aspiration for him but definitely sees it as a challenge to play in the Premier League."

Ivan Perisic scored 10 goals across all competitions for Inter Milan in 2021-22
Ivan Perisic scored 10 goals across all competitions for Inter Milan in 2021-22

Olic believes the fact that Perisic has experience working with Conte will be beneficial for him and does not foresee any issues with the experienced winger settling into English football.

"This opportunity presented itself and he accepted it," said Olic. "Some clubs were interested in him, but he chose Tottenham.

"He knows the coach, his coaching staff and his game system. In terms of getting used to the English system, I don't think he will have any problems.

"I'm sure, since I've played with him myself and now, I'm coaching him, that he'll settle in quickly and become one of the most important players."

Spurs begin the new Premier League season on August 6 against Southampton and will be in the Champions League group stage draw on Thursday, August 25.