Mattia Destro 22 Striker AS Roma Italy
2013 has been…
Just the most frustrating year. An international striker that just scores and scores, Mattia Destro had finally found a home and a club worthy of his talents when he hooked up with Roma in 2012. Having suffered initial rejection by Inter, and then a bout of general toing and froing with said Milanese, Genoa and Siena, Destro had never looked anything less than a first class finisher as he racked up goals at just about every youth level for Italy.
When we published The 100 last December, Destro was still taking to life in Rome while the club itself wasn’t in a particularly great place. The attacking style employed by coach Zdeněk Zeman really should have brought out the very best in the forward, however the balance of the team was never right and the Ascoli born striker rarely looked comfortable when compared to the far more prolific Pablo Osvaldo.
As results continued to be less than impressive over the winter period, Zeman’s tenure in the eternal city was cut short by the Pallotta regime. At the same time, injury disrupted the rest of Mattia Destro’s season. While Serie A was something of a write off, the Coppa Italia offered the young striker an opportunity which he seized with vigour. Eventually beaten by city rivals Lazio, Roma were led to the final by Destro’s goals and as the season closed, there was good reason to be optimistic.
That optimism was short lived. An uninspiring under-21 championship was followed by a knee injury, which has meant that Destro is yet to kick a ball for the first team this season....not that this absence has caused his team any problems.
After winning their first ten - that’s TEN - games this season, Rudi Garcia’s side have lost their way slightly with four straight draws. Thankfully, Destro has returned to the first team squad. At time of writing, he remains an unused substitute.
The purchase of Destro in 2012 looked a smart acquisition on Roma’s part. The prospect of jointly spearheading an attack alongside Pablo Osvaldo with ammo prepared by Totti, Lamela and Pjanic in a Zeman dream team remains an unfulfilled gusset-moistening thing. That it didn’t work out is one of football’s small tragedies. Most of us would have happily paid double to watch had it worked.
A little dazed and confused after really finding their groove, Roma remain a very strong contender for the Serie A title and if they are to pick up again, they will need as many good players as they can muster. Mattia Destro certainly meets that criteria.
Although Lamela has moved on, Totti will be at the Stadio Olimpico until his heart stops, and the Roman talisman continues to be a thoroughly effective orchestrator at 109. Of late, Totti has been ably assisted in attacking positions by former Arsenal winger Gervinho, with Adam Ljajic in and out as support. The thrust of Garcia’s side though comes via the purring midfield trio of Strootman, Florenzi and Pjanic, but if Pablo Osvaldo was competition for Destro last season, that particular issue has moved on. To Southampton. Instead Marco Borriello has been the main front man, although the team has played around him rather than making the veteran striker the focal point of attack.
This really hasn’t been a great year but Mattia Destro has arrived back at Roma at a perfect time. The team really need to start putting opponents to the sword again and the opportunity to introduce a player that is all about goals is just the ticket. He hasn’t been rushed back and while Garcia is yet to find a place for the young striker, sooner or later Destro will be in the right place at the right time. It’s what he does.
While some observers will question whether he can really produce at the highest level, we believe a genuine top-flight striker could really explode at any moment. Siena were not the greatest of shakes, but Destro was able to score regularly there, regardless of opposition. The injury was a setback, but our man will take heart from the return to form of Guiseppe Rossi, himself no stranger to the treatment table.
Upcoming matches against Fiorentina, Milan and Catania will invariably give Destro a chance to play, and with Stephan El Shaarawy going backwards at an alarming rate, another Italian golden boy might just fancy his chances of making the World Cup squad. We really hope it works out.
"Out with an injury that seems to belie explanation, his recent squad photo unfortunately made it seem the only stat he's increased is his playing weight. With Roma playing as well as they are, he has a tough task to get back in the side." - Adam Digby, ESPN
"Last season in Serie A, Mattia Destro (20) created more chances than Pablo Osvaldo despite playing 1209 minutes fewer than the Italian international." - Opta
D A bit of a nightmare, but the Coppa Italia reminded everyone just how hot Destro can be