A lacklustre start for Mattia Destro at Roma has seen the critics come out in force, but as Dylan Fahy writes, the Italian media should take a backseat for the player’s own good.
Chased by Juventus, Inter and Milan before ultimately ending up at Roma in late July, Mattia Destro proved to be Serie A’s transfer saga of the summer. The 21-year-old featured in the peninsula’s papers on daily basis and on every occasion it was a different club seeking his signature. “He simply isn’t worth all this hassle,” insisted Genoa President Enrico Preziosi, before the striker eventually penned a deal with the Giallorossi.
The former Inter academy scarlet staked his claim during a spell with then newly promoted Siena last term. Under the guidance of Giuseppe Sannino the striker netted 12 times as the club finished comfortably in midtable. Touted as Italy’s next striking sensation, Serie A’s hierarchy surrounded the Grifoni like vultures when they bought out his co-ownership deal with the Tuscans in June.
“In my 22 years in football, this is the silliest affair I have come across,” concluded Preziosi, “We are talking far too much about a lad that still has to prove himself.” The controversial Italian businessman was dismissed out of hand by several quarters at the time, but an underwhelming start to life in the capital for the striker has only gone to prove his point.
Destro is yet to ripple the net for Zdenek Zeman’s side and, despite arriving with the promise of being the main man upfront in the eccentric Czech’s 4-3-3 system, Pablo Daniel Osvaldo has overshadowed him to date. Five lacklustre appearances culminated in a muscular injury that initially ruled him out against his former club Genoa, before revealing he would be sidelined for up to three weeks.
The Italian media have not rested on reporting on the Italian international’s future, and this week claimed Fabio Quagliarella will move to Rome in a potential swap move to be concluded in January with the current Italian champions. The striker’s agent was quick to deny any such deal would be made, proving that the intense speculation surrounding him does still strike a chord at times.
“Roma would be handing Juventus the future striker of Italian football if they make the swap,” asserted former Siena sporting director Giorgio Perinetti. “They should keep a tight grip on him.” Destro has the qualities to become the future of Italy’s frontline, as Cesare Prandelli has consistently proved by selecting him despite his poor showings at club level.
The hype surrounding Destro from the onset should have been dramatically toned down, and if it persists at this rate it could potentially diminish what is set to be a long and fine career. For the benefit of the player, perhaps the Italian media should take a step back and allow him to develop without outside pressures.