Mattia Destro has been in fine form this term - better than some of Europe’s top forwards.
Arsenal’s well-documented failure to sign a striker in January seems to have caught up with them in the final sprint towards May.
Many predicted that it would without a new signing up front during the transfer window, and those of this thinking appear to have been vindicated.
Scores of names ran through the rumour mill for the Gunners over the course of the first month of 2014. And many of the same ones are still being bandied about - Mario Mandzukic and Alvaro Morata just to name a few - in view of the summer.
But travel back to January once more for a moment. In the massive crowd of strikers linked with an Emirates switch stood AS Roma’s Mattia Destro - albeit briefly.
According to Rai Sport, Arsene Wenger’s interest was such that Arsenal contacted the 22-year-old’s agent, Claudio Vigorelli.
But the Gunners wouldn’t get very far as Roma reportedly caught wind and stepped in - sending the North London side packing without even a formal discussion.
At the time, Destro had only just returned from a long term injury, banging in four goals in six appearances. And he’s continued hitting the back of the net - bagging six more goals to date.
The Italian’s body of work sees him average 0.91 goals per 90 minutes - enticing to say the least. For a bit of context, consider that Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Diego Costa each sit at an inferior 0.87.
Of all forwards in Europe’s top five leagues, Destro ranks sixth in this category - one that tells a lot about a striker’s overall effectiveness.
And it doesn’t look good for one Giroud here. The often maligned Frenchman has averaged .45 goals per 90 minutes this term, far out of sight of Europe’s most efficient hit men.
In view of Arsenal’s interest in Destro, it doesn’t seem there was ever much chance of him landing at the Emirates in January. But you can’t help but wonder what he could’ve done in North London should Roma not have immediately swatted Arsenal away.
He’s hit the ground running again after spending nearly six months on the treatment table. Week in and week out, he’s always getting in dangerous positions and proving decisive.
So maybe more than others that got away in January, Arsenal should be regretful of never getting close enough to Destro. Or maybe the Gunners should take his good form as a sign he’s worth making a long term target.
Wenger and company are still out there looking for a new striker, after all. And if Destro can keep up this furious pace, why not keep an eye on him as an option going forward - if Roma can be convinced to sell.