Ivan Perisic has already stoked the rivalry in north London by insisting it was ‘obvious’ Tottenham would beat Arsenal to the top four, as he signed a two-year contract from Inter Milan.
His switch was confirmed by Spurs a few minutes after he put a statement out paying tribute to his ‘unforgettable’ time in Serie A.
Perisic leaves the Italian side after seven years, albeit with one season spent on loan at Bayern Munich. He won Serie A under Conte’s guidance at Inter, as well as the Coppa Italia and the Italian Super Cup.
Turning to his new club, he wasted no time in talking up Tottenham’s superiority over bitter rivals Arsenal.
Ivan Perisic has signed for Tottenham on a two-year contract after leaving Inter Milan
‘I was waiting [in] the last two to three games, I was watching,’ he told SpursTV.
‘After the victory against Arsenal, it was obvious Tottenham would go in the Champions League and it was good for me because I want to play the best games, do a great job in Champions League and Premier League and both cups.
‘I’m really excited to start with the Spurs family. When I got a call from the coach and sporting director, I said I really wanted to play in the Premier League since 2009 when I starting to play professional football in Belgium.
‘This is the moment and I can’t wait.
‘It was always my dream to play in the best five leagues in the world and the Premier League was a missing puzzle [piece]. Now I’m here and my hope is it’s going to be perfect.’
Tottenham’s latest signing got a look around their state-of-the-art stadium after signing
Getting top four was always going to open doors to a calibre of player Tottenham needed to bridge the gap domestically and Perisic’s switch has proved that.
It also shows the pull Conte has in the game, with Perisic delighted to be reunited with the Italian.
‘It’s a privilege to work with a coach like this,’ he continued.
‘He’s living football, every minute, ever hour, every day. When he’s sleeping, he’s thinking about football.
‘I like his character and I know he’s going to do a great job here.’
Perisic’s versatility made him a hit in Italy and he believes he can offer plenty across the pitch for Tottenham heading into 2022-23.
He added: ‘I’m going to bring a lot of hard work, I like to work a lot, for the team. I can play several positions in the system Tottenham is playing now. I’ll bring also a lot of experience, I used to play for a lot of great clubs.’
Perisic won Serie A under Antonio Conte at Inter and is now joins up with him at Tottenham
While he is delighted to be finally getting his shot at the Premier League, he was quick to pay tribute to those back at Inter for the more than 250 games he played for the San Siro club.
Writing on Instagram, he said: ‘After 254 games, 55 goals, 49 assists, 3 trophies and 18,934 minutes spent on the pitch wearing this glorious jersey; my journey here has come to an end.
‘Even though every end means a new beginning it’s important to reflect back on these past years and show you my deepest appreciation for the work accomplished.
‘It was an unforgettable learning experience for me as a player and for my whole family.
‘To the team, the staff, to all the employees but most importantly to the fans : you will always have a special place in my heart.
‘I leave feeling privileged having this club in my portfolio.’
The Croatian showed fans a glimpse of how he will look wearing his new team’s colours
Sportsmail reported on Monday that Perisic had his medical and is expected to sign a two-year contract at Spurs.
The 33-year-old Croatia winger is understood to have rejected an offer of £4.25m a year after tax from the Italians to take up a deal with Spurs worth around £170,000 a week.
Furthermore, Perisic is expected to be available for the first day of Tottenham’s pre-season training despite sustaining a calf injury in his last appearance for Inter, according to Football London.
Perisic committed to join Spurs on Friday, the same day Conte held a recruitment meeting with technical director Fabio Paratici which touched on which of the squad can leave.
Perisic rejected the chance to remain in Italy after Inter tried to keep him at the club
Conte is busy rebuilding his Spurs squad after leading them back into the Champions League
Tanguy Ndombele, Davinson Sanchez, Harry Winks, Giovani Lo Celso, Steven Bergwijn, Sergio Reguilon and Joe Rodon are among those who face uncertain futures.
Conte is determined to supplement what is already a healthy transfer budget, following owner Joe Lewis’s £150m cash injection, by selling fringe players.
Paratici has already done a deal for goalkeeper Fraser Forster on a free transfer from Southampton and wants to add around four more signings.
Perisic’s former Inter team-mate Alessandro Bastoni and Josko Gvardiol of Red Bull Leipzig are Spurs’ top targets in central defence, and Middlesbrough right back Djed Spence is also admired.