Why Antonio Conte thinks Ivan Perisic is the man who will turn Ryan Sessegnon into a superstar

Ivan Perisic’s arrival at Tottenham this week could be a crucial factor in propelling Ryan Sessegnon’s career to new heights with the club.

Perisic will travel to Hotspur Way this week to complete a medical and complete a two-year free £98,000-a-week transfer to Tottenham after telling Inter Milan he has no plans to renew his contract with them. The 33-year-old brings a wealth of experience, having won the Champions League, the Serie A title under Antonio Conte and Bundesliga titles with Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund, as well as domestic cup victories with four different clubs.

Perisic scored 10 goals and provided nine assists in 49 games for Inter Milan last season, showing no signs of slowing down in almost 4,000 minutes of football. Conte sees Perisic as a crucial cog to improve the side’s mentality in the big moments of next season and the Croatian has a lot of faith in the Italian’s coaching methods. He played as a left winger under Conte at Inter and can also play as a conventional winger or even alongside the striker when needed.

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There will also be another big role for the experienced full-back as both Conte and Spurs chief executive Fabio Paratici believe Perisic can mentor 21-year-old Sessegnon and push him to develop further as the full-back duo evolve The Big shares the number of games on offer next season with Spurs’ return to the Champions League.

Conte has high hopes for Sessegnon if the England Under-21 international can have a good pre-season and stay away from any further hamstring problems.

Sessegnon joined Tottenham from Fulham for £30million in the summer of 2019 while Josh Onomah went in the opposite direction. His Spurs career was a stop-start due to various hamstring injuries as well as a successful Bundesliga loan season at Hoffenheim. However, he became Conte’s first choice at left flank in the second half of that season, notching a string of starts and great performances against champions Manchester City and challengers Liverpool.

Conte tells football.london this season that Sessegnon could become an important player for club and country.

“Sess, in my opinion, has every possibility to become an important player. First of all, he is young and has many years ahead of him. He is physically strong and fast, has a good motor and is resilient,” he said. “He has good quality. Sometimes I think he feels a bit of pressure, but he played important games with me, against Liverpool, against Chelsea, against City.

“It means that I trust him. If you remember in the last game I changed the system, but only for that, I substituted him after 30 minutes. I explained that it was a tactical situation, but we’re talking about another player who if he works and you have patience to work with him, he’s another player who can become an important player, also for England, the national team, but the first person to convince is himself. I trust him as much as I trust all the players.”

Perisic is a perfect example of a player who has won Conte over with his desire to learn and adapt with the work rate he has put in after returning from a loan move to Bayern to take on a key role in Inter’s title-winning team take over.

“We sent Perisic to Bayern Munich because he wasn’t willing to do the defensive work I asked for. He came back with a different mentality,” Conte said last year. “I asked him the same things as last season, but he showed that he has exceptional qualities and needs to believe in himself more. The moment he started, he started playing. He can be even more decisive .”

He added at the time: “When I joined Inter Milan in the summer of 2019, my first idea was that Perisic is an attacking defender because I know he has the qualities for it. The coach can have all sorts of ideas, but he needs the players’ willingness to cooperate in his hard work. He was loaned to Bayern and came back with a different mentality.

“Perisic is an excellent player with outstanding physical strength. He can hit well [his man]. He has the ability to play one on one. I need Perisic like that. He will stay because he has quality.”

Full-backs are vital to Conte’s system and the Italian would like Sessegnon to be even bolder on the ball in attack, trust his body and push for more goals and assists for Tottenham next season and being able to learn from Perisic could be be vital to his progress.

Tottenham are expected to hear offers this summer for Sergio Reguilon, who was unavailable in the final month of the season with a groin strain. The 25-year-old fell behind Sessegnon in the pecking order in the second half of the campaign and with the payment for his £28million transfer from Real Madrid in 2020, which is expected to be due this summer, Spurs are looking to make up for that by accepting similar offers from interested clubs. In this way, with the free transfer of Perisic, they have raised additional funds that they can invest in other areas of the team.

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