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Mattia Destro: The Right Man For Milan?


The most significant signing of the recent transfer window would have to be Mattia Destro, at least from a financial standpoint. If reports ahead of his loan deal are correct, his contract was not just for the six month loan deal from Roma, but also for the next four years, which would imply that Milan agreed to the €16m transfer fee for his outright purchase. But despite being an exciting young player with eight caps for the Italian national team already at the age of 23 and representing Italy at almost every age level from U16 on, the question still remains: Is Destro the right man for Milan?

The man seems hungry to win


Destro actually has football heritage, as his father Flavio played as a defender in Serie A and Serie B in the 1980’s and early ‘90’s for teams like Ascoli, Cesena, and Pescara. His father also has some coaching background, having most recently coached Ascoli, their home town, who are currently playing in Serie C. His father also coached Ascoli’s Allievi Nazionali team during 2004-05, while Mattia was playing for their Giovanissimi Nazionali squad.

But Mattia is a striker. A center forward, to be exact. At 5’10” (1.78m), he looks taller than he is. He’s a strong presence in the box but is not afraid to run and work to create chances. Despite Roma’s wealth of talent, he wasn’t getting the playing time he needed to develop. Which is why he moved to Milan. He will certainly be a protagonist in this squad. But for how long? If he has a scoring drought, will Milan keep the faith in him?

Skeleton in the closet

Everyone has a skeleton in their closet, and Mattia Destro’s is that he spent five years in Inter’s youth system. While there, he was either top scorer or second to the top at each level, such as being second to one Mario Balotelli in the 2006-07 Allievi Nazionali team. That team also won the league the following year with Destro in the squad, and when he was on their Primavera squad, they won the Viareggio Tournament and were runners up in the league.

In an attempt to restore his soul, he moved first to Genoa at the age of 19 on a co-ownership deal. There he scored two goals in 16 appearances. Next stop was at Siena, a €1.5m loan with option for co-ownership. At Siena, he scored 12 goals for them in 30 appearances in Serie A, the club’s top scorer that season. He also perfected his bizarre “pole dance” celebration there. His stint at Siena was cut short at the one season, though, as Genoa bought out his co-ownership in order to sell him to Roma.

Corner flags everywhere tremble when he scores

Roma made a deal worth €11.5m, with an option to buy outright for €4.5m (or €16m total.) As excited as fans were for his debut with the club, he received a bit of notoriety for being sent off. He received a yellow card earlier in the match, and then he scored, so he took off his shirt to celebrate, for which he was shown a second yellow and an early shower. I blame Inter. He also earned a three match ban for punching Davide Astori in April of 2014, even though the referee didn’t catch it at the time. So he’s not Mr. Perfect by any means. He did score a very solid 23 goals in 52 appearances for Roma, which allowed fans to forget the facepalm debut and the punching and all. But he also struggled with injuries, which was also one of the reasons he wasn’t getting as much playing time.

The man believes in shirt-free football

His Inter youth time still shows through when it comes to some of the discipline. But already at Milan he has been pictured helping the hungry at a food bank with his beautiful wife, whom he married last year. So I have hope that the Nerazzurri will finally be cleansed from his system at Milan. He is a very good signing for this Milan squad. His being Italian (instead of being a “rotten apple”) should make Berlusconi happy, and his being young should win a lot of fans’ approval. If he can stay healthy and continue to grow, there can be no question. But at a time like this when everything is in question, we still have to ask, is he the right man for Milan?


This post inspired by the music of Journey


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Milan Cesena
Sunday, February 22 • 15:00 CET (9am EST)