Perisic next: The 4 Croatians to play for Tottenham in the Prem era

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Luka Modric celebrates after scoring for Tottenham. in the Premier League. St James' Park, December 2008.

Ivan Perisic is his way to Tottenham to link up with his old boss Antonio Conte following the expiry of his contract with Inter Milan. But he won’t be the first player from Croatia to play for Spurs in the Premier League.

For a country of just four million people, Croatia produces a remarkable number of top-class footballers, as any England fan could testify.

Tottenham have taken full advantage of that fact in recent years, fielding four Croatians to varying degrees of success. We’ve taken a look at each of them and how they fared in north London.

Stipe Pletikosa

If you remember Pletikosa’s name but can’t put your finger on why then rest assured you’re not alone.

After coming through at Hadjuk Split and playing for Shakhtar Donetsk and Spartak Moscow, Tottenham brought the goalkeeper in on loan in 2010 as a backup option.

He was thrown in for his debut in the League Cup – but it was not an ordinary League Cup game. Playing against Arsenal, Tottenham drew 1-1 in normal time before losing the plot in the 30 extra minutes and getting thumped 4-1.

Pletikosa never made another appearance in a Tottenham shirt and retied in 2016 after spells at Rostov and Deportivo La Coruna.

Luka Modric

The best of the lot.

Modric moved to N17 as a relatively unknown, scruffy-looking 23-year-old in 2008 – but he quickly turned into one of the finest midfield players in the league, constantly finding angles and spraying passes to the likes of Rafael van der Vaart, Jermain Defoe, Peter Crouch and Gareth Bale.

With Modric running the show in Harry Redknapp’s exciting team, Spurs started challenging for the top four and making strides in Europe so it was little surprise when Real Madrid came knocking in 2012.

The exit was a little rancourous – infamously involving a dreaded “gentleman’s agreement” with well-known gentleman Daniel Levy – but we hear he’s done alright since going to Madrid…

READ: Remembering the night Luka Modric entered the pantheon of ‘world class’

Vedran Corluka

Modric’s best mate, Corluka moved to Spurs in the same window and left at the same time too.

And though he was not as central to the successes of the Redknapp years as his friend, he was a solid servant, making over 100 appearances across four seasons.

He retired in 2021 after 10 seasons at Lokomotiv Moscow and took up a role as assistant manager of the Croatian national team.

Niko Kranjcar

An absolute ‘Arry favourite, was Niko Kranjcar. Signed him for Portsmouth, signed him for Spurs, then signed him for QPR after that too. Good player, t’riffic quality, fantastic lad.

Redknapp and Kranjcar didn’t always see eye to eye though, truth be told.

With all the attacking talent at Redknapp’s disposal, Kranjcar didn’t always get a look-in, and he later told Played Up Pompey Three: “Is he a good man manager? I think we would all say yes and no.

“The majority of the time he understood the ability a player possesses, while [he] had empathy when somebody wanted time off.

“On the other hand, when you’re not playing, no one likes a manager who doesn’t put them into the team. We all want to play, every single minute, if you are not then no manager is good for you, end of.

“We actually had a love-hate relationship throughout our career. There were times in my first season when I wasn’t in Pompey’s squad, the same thing happened at Spurs, the same happened at QPR, although I guess I was his lucky charm.”

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