In recent years, Bayern Munich has utilised the use of loan players multiple times. Kinglsey Coman initially joined the club on a two-year loan in 2015 from Juventus before signing a permanent contract in 2017, as well as James Rodríguez who spent two seasons on loan with Bayern starting in 2017, before re-joining Real Madrid afterwards. This season has been no different; with Die Roten signing two big names on loan yet again.
Both Phillipe Coutinho and Ivan Perisic have done fairly well for the Bundesliga leaders while on loan this campaign. However, the likeliness of Bayern being able to construct a fair deal with Barcelona for Coutinho is low as the Spanish giants had splashed €140 million on the Brazilian only two seasons prior, whereas, Bayern have an option to buy for Perisic from Inter Milan for only €20 million.
This tactical analysis in the form of a scout report will assess what the Croatian brings to the Bayern side; using analysis to determine his strengths and weaknesses. I will conclude the scout report by deciding whether Bayern Munich should buy Ivan Perisic on a full deal at the end of the season.
Perisic is an out and out left-winger, in an era where the majority of wingers are becoming inverted. Perisic is more traditional, looking to take his full-back on the flank and play a cross into the centre. The Croatian also likes to make his way into the middle when the ball is on the opposite flank to use his height and aerial ability in the box.
Here are images of Perisic’s heatmaps from both this current season [left] and the 2018/19 one with Inter [right].
Since joining Bayern, Perisic has been more involved in the area than he was previously with Inter, he averages 6.75 touches in the box per 90 this season; the third-most in the Bundesliga. This could be because when playing, the Croatian has had Alphonso Davies behind him, who can occupy the wide spaces in the attack but also Bayern’s tactics use crossing as a primary source of their attacking style and this encourages Perisic to move into the box more often; I will analysis this later in the scout report.
However, the left-winger has not drifted from his main asset and still attempted an average of 6.84 crosses per 90 himself, this is only third to Karim Bellarabi [7.36] and Filip Kostić [7.71] out of all wingers in the Bundesliga.
Perisic’s crossing and in-the-box activities have been crucial in his playstyle this season; both of these assets will be analysed later in the scout report.
High work rate
Perisic entered a team that prioritise a high work rate no matter the position. Bayern Munich has averaged a PPDA [Passes per defensive action] of 7.66; the best in the Bundesliga.
Perisic fits the mould in this aspect, with his work rate being second-to-none. The Croatian averages 21 pressures per 90, with 32.7% of these being successful; this is very impressive.
The two images above show a clear example of the high work rate that Perisic has. As the opposition right-back is driving into open space, Perisic manages to get goal-side and force the player into a back pass and then a lofted ball forward; the play ends in Bayern possession.
This image shows Perisic’s work rate in the final third, he looks to recover the ball after a loose touch from the opposition. After doing this he is able to get a cross into the area. The Croatian is one of the best in the league in terms of recovering the ball in the final third. He averages 2.37 final third recoveries per 90, this is the sixth most from Bundesliga wingers or forwards.
Perisic’s high work rate is suited to Bayern’s system, where they look to get the ball back when out of possession as quickly as possible. Even though he is 31-years old; Pulisic has had his best season in the last three, in terms of pressures and successful pressures. He is not quite losing his stamina yet.
One of Perisic’s main traits is the ability to play a dangerous cross into the box. He is an orthodox winger and gets the majority of his success on the flank crossing. As mentioned before, Perisic makes the third most crosses per 90 in the Bundesliga but he also has an impressive success rate of 31%.
The above image shows a perfect example of Perisic’s crossing ability. He reaches the byline and plays a great low cross into the front post, where his teammate was running to. Although the defender managed to block the cross; it’s still a good example of how Perisic gets to the byline and can play a dangerous cross.
Again, in the image above Perisic is able to create space by his great dribbling – which will be analysed in the scout report – and drills a low cross into a great area where if Robert Lewandowksi or Thomas Müller gambled, they would’ve had a tap-in.
This time, the image above shows Perisic getting close to the byline, but the Croatian realises a low cross would not be sufficient as there are three opposition defenders in between him and Müller in the box. Instead, Perisic plays a great chipped cross into Müller, who is unable to beat the defender in the air. Unfortunately, Lewandowski was not in the position as it would’ve likely ended in the net.
Perisic has a great cross, it is one of the main features in his game. He is able to drill a low cross into a dangerous area and also play a higher cross into areas for the forwards to attack.
However, without his dribbling and close control, Perisic would not be able to manipulate the ball in wide areas so that he can get the space to cross.
The Croatian’s dribbling goes hand in hand with his crossing, mostly using manipulation of the ball to get space to cross, however, Perisic’s dribbling also can be used in the middle, helping him link up with the other forwards and midfielders.
This image displays the dribbles that Perisic has made in the final third this season and shows the majority of them being in wider areas. Although he can come inside, he is much more dangerous dribbling on the flank.
Once one-on-one with the full-back, Perisic will drive straight towards them with the ball and this allows an option to take the ball on the inside, as well as the outside. Even though he will almost always take the ball on the outside, his stepovers make it difficult for the defender to know when he will accelerate; which he also does very well.
The image above is a clear example of how Perisic likes to dribble on the flank. He starts wide and receives the ball and immediately directs his run straight at the full-back, with the help of his quick stepovers Perisic can release the ball on the outside and accelerate past the defender; making space for a cross into the area. He plays a great cross and Kingsley Coman connects with it and scores.
This image shows another example of how Perisic utilises his dribbling on the flanks. Once he receives the ball he runs directly at the full-back yet again. He has the option to go on the inside or the outside. Yet again, he uses his quick stepovers to manipulate the ball and then springs to the outside getting a yard of space on the defender. He then crosses into a great area but no one can put it away.
This image above, instead shows how Perisic’s dribbling and close control can be an asset to him when he is found in more central areas. The Croatian moves the ball onto his more dangerous left foot and has two clear options of either shooting or playing the pass on the left. All three defenders expect one of these two options to occur, which is why they all move towards the left side in an attempt to make a tackle or block. Instead, Perisic can smartly drag the ball back onto the right side, keeping close control and play a simple pass into Corentin Tolisso, who scores.
Perisic can play a killer cross, however, his ability to isolate a full-back one-on-one and manipulate the ball so that he can get the space needed is vital as well. Even though it is predictable that he will usually take the outside route; it is still very difficult to stop.
While he does enjoy staying wide and playing crosses into the box, Perisic gets a lot of his joy when inside the penalty box. One of his best assets in these areas is his aerial ability. The Croatian stands tall at 186cm and can often isolate the fullback in the area and win headers to either set up his teammates or to attempt to score himself.
Shown by Perisic’s high crossing numbers, Bayern clearly prioritises getting the ball to the flanks and crossing; usually, because teams will stay compact against them and the space to exploit will be in wide areas. In fact, Bayern Munich average 22.96 crosses per 90; the most in the Bundesliga.
This makes the fact that Perisic can come inside and be a threat in the box when the ball is on the other side of the pitch a great asset to the German club. Here are some examples of what Perisic can offer with his aerial ability.
In the above image, we can see the cross playing into the back-post from the right-hand side. Perisic makes his way into the box and leaps above the fullback to win the header. However, he does not just win the header but he can head straight towards Müller who is in open space in the box. The German scores and Perisic gets an assist due to his great aerial ability and awareness of his teammate in space.
Yet again, the image above shows a deep cross played in the area from the right and Perisic is able to leap up and head the ball back towards Lewandowksi; who is making a run towards the front post. Although, the Pole cannot control the ball well enough and loses out to the defender. Perisic’s header back across caused a dangerous problem for the defending side though.
While he can set his teammates up with the help of his aerial ability, he can also be a direct threat to the goal in the air. The power he can generate on the ball when heading can cause a great problem for goalkeepers.
This image above highlights the danger Perisic can have when in the box. The ball is crossed to the back-post and Perisic can head towards the bottom corner and score; he is allowed to be marked by the full-back because he is positioned on the left but this means that Perisic can dominate the aerial duel, while also generating enough power with accuracy on his header so that he can score.
Shown above is another situation where Perisic punishes the fact that he is allowed to be marked by the full-back. The cross is played towards Perisic from the right side and his leap is much superior to the full-back, helping him win the aerial duel and head towards goal. Although the keeper gets his palm to the headed attempt, he is unable to keep it out of the net due to the power Perisic generates on the header.
Not only can he wins his aerial duels, but Perisic can be efficient when he wins them and can either set up a teammate in the box or test the goalkeeper himself. Considering the tactics implemented at Bayern Munich, this asset of the Croatians is a great one.
Areas of Weakness
While he a great wide-man, Perisic has certain areas in his game which aren’t so fine-tuned.
Although the Croatian often involves himself in the game, with an average of 44.22 passes per 90; his accuracy is quite poor at only 74.43%. Perisic can sometimes give the ball away cheaply.
The above image shows an example of how Perisic can sometimes lose possession for his team through a poor pass. The ball is played into him on the left side and he has a simple progressive passing option into Coutinho’s feet. However, the Croatian carelessly plays a lofted ball straight to the opponent; losing possession for the team.
Considering Bayern focus on keeping possession of the ball; averaging 68.8% possession across the season; Perisic being poor in possession can be a hindrance to the side. Although, his ability to win the ball back out of possession can help make up for this.
This analysis has shown that Perisic offers Bayern Munich a great option from the left-side. While he isn’t a winger who will drive inside and score a great number of goals; his crossing and aerial ability make him a different asset to many wingers. Considering the tactics at Bayern Munich, with crossing and high work rates being a priority, Perisic seems a solid fit.
While he is 31-years-old, it is likely to Perisic would accept a rotation role at Bayern; but also has the quality and fitness to be able to come in when any injuries occur – which seems inevitable with Kingsley Coman.
At only €20 million, bringing Perisic in permanently would be an obvious choice for Bayern Munich to make; with the only potential implication being Leroy Sané whether the Manchester City winger will be coming to Die Roten in the summer.