Manchester United boss Jose Mourinho has ruled out a potential player swap with Inter Milan involving Ivan Perisic and Anthony Martial.
As per The Mirror, Martial is highly rated at Old Trafford and the Red Devils’ hierarchy see the Frenchman as too bright a prospect to risk letting go. Instead, they are said to be willing to sacrifice the defensive duo of Matteo Darmian and Chris Smalling in order to land Perisic.
Ivan Perisic has been a key target for Manchester United, who are looking to further strengthen their attacking options on the wings. The Croatian has been in great form over the past two seasons, courting interest from a number of Europe’s top clubs.
The 28-year-old was one of the few positives for the Nerazzurri in what was a difficult 2016/17 campaign. He managed to hold down a spot in the starting XI with all 3 managers and his 11 goals and 11 assists helped them to a 7th placed finish in the Serie A.
While he is predominantly a left-winger, he can also be utilised on the right or as an attacking midfielder, something that Jose Mourinho will surely appreciate. They are a little short on quality left wingers, with Jesse Lingard and Ashley Young their only two options.
Now, after spending upwards of £70 million by signing Romelu Lukaku to lead their attack, a world class left winger seems to be the missing piece of the puzzle and Perisic certainly fits the bill of the tenacious, no-nonsense and hard working player that Mourinho likes.
It comes as no surprise that Matteo Darmian would be allowed to leave Old Trafford. The Italian international had a difficult 2016/17 campaign. He featured only 29 times across all competitions and there were reports of a ‘breakdown’ in relations with Mourinho early in the season.
After a promising first season with Louis Van Gaal, the Italian international wasn’t able to build upon his debut season and never managed to recreate the same kind of form that convinced United to shell out £12.7 million to Torino for his services.
Chris Smalling, who has now spent 7 seasons at the club, clearly hasn’t done enough for Mourinho. The Englishman had a season riddled with injuries to his knee and foot, which certainly wouldn’t have made it any easier on him.
His injuries restricted him to only 36 matches across all competitions last season and with the arrival of Victor Lindelof, Mourinho would likely have had enough and will be looking to free up funds for more transfers. However, whether Smalling would wish to ply his trade in Italy presents another problem entirely.
Both players, though, will be better off moving away from Old Trafford given their present situation as it is unlikely they will be afforded a lot of minutes. Lack of regular game time will perhaps more importantly, hamper their chances to feature for their respective nations at the World Cup in Russia next year, something neither player might be unwilling to risk.