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Ed Woodward reveals why Manchester United did not sign Ivan Perisic in 2017

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In the years following Sir Alex Ferguson’s departure from Manchester United in 2013, Jose Mourinho emerged as one of the more triumphant managers at the club. After leaving Chelsea, Mourinho took charge at Old Trafford in 2016 and quickly made his mark by securing both the Europa League and Carabao Cup in his inaugural season, ensuring Champions League participation for the team.

Yet, the summer that followed was marred by disappointment, particularly in the club’s pursuit of Inter Milan’s Ivan Perisic. Despite intense negotiations, a deal for the Croatian winger, valued around £40 million, failed to come to fruition over a mere £5 million discrepancy. The Guardian reported that Inter Milan’s financial woes had Manchester United hopeful of a bargain, but the transaction never concluded.

An explosive report by ESPN sheds light on why United’s bid for Perisic was unsuccessful, citing the Glazer family’s influence. A former United player revealed, “Jose Mourinho wanted to sign [winger] Ivan Perisic from Inter Milan in 2017, but was told by Ed that, as a player, he wasn’t commercially viable,” highlighting internal disagreements on transfer strategies. Ed Woodward, United’s chief executive at the time, refuted this claim, stating, “that (his commercial value) was never a consideration.”

Perisic would go on to have an exceptional year, playing a key role in Croatia’s journey to the World Cup final and scoring in the 4-2 defeat to France. Mourinho viewed Perisic as a potential replacement for Anthony Martial, with whom he had a strained relationship. ESPN’s report also touches on Mourinho’s desire to offload Martial post-World Cup, a move that was blocked by the Glazers, with Joel Glazer, in particular, being a supporter of Martial.

The details provided paint a troubling picture of the Glazers’ reign at Manchester United, with Sir Jim Ratcliffe and Ineos’ prospective takeover offering hope for a new direction. This narrative underscores the complexities and internal conflicts that have characterized Manchester United’s transfer dealings and managerial relationships in recent years.

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