Jack Beresford finds out a little more about Mattia Destro – the AS Roma star being linked with a move to Tottenham Hotspur this summer.
Fresh from scoring 13 goals in 20 Serie A outings for AS Roma last term, Mattia Destro is now being linked with a move to the Premier League.
But what do Tottenham fans really know about the Giallorossi hitman? We pick out five great stories, both good and bad, that tell their own tale about Destro and what Spurs supporters should expect from the former Inter Milan academy star.
Despite starting his career with Inter at 14, the Roma hitman had a complicated route to the top which started when the Nerazzurri traded him off with Genoa for defender Andrea Ranocchia in 2010.
First signed in a co-ownership deal, Genoa purchased the forward outright for €4.5 million a year later but he struggled for game time at the club, scoring just twice in 16 appearances, mostly as a substitute.
Moving to Siena in another co-ownership deal that cost his new employers just €1.5 million, Destro finally found first-team action, scoring 12 goals for the unfashionable Serie A club – the most by an player in the Italian top flight under the age of 22 for over 40 years.
Siena bought Genoa out of the co-ownership agreement for another €1.3 million before selling the striker to Roma in a deal worth €11.5 million.
We’ve all heard the story about Jonathan Woodgate’s nightmare debut for Real Madrid – a game that saw the former Tottenham defender not only score an own goal but also receive his marching orders from the referee – and Mattia Destro’s is not too dissimilar.
Keen to make an impact after coming on as a substitute for Roma legend Francesco Totti with the Giallorossi 3-0 up and cruising against Palermo, Destro certainly did that.
Four minutes after his arrival the young striker picked up a yellow card. Two minutes later, he opened his account for the Romans to put the Serie A side 4-0 up and out of sight.
Seconds afterwards though he was walking down the tunnel, having received a second yellow card for taking his shirt off in celebration at his goal . All in his entire debut lasted just seven minutes.
Destro’s Internet Gag
Signed as a replacement for the outgoing Fabio Borini, Destro’s initial impact at Roma was hampered by a series of injuries to his right-knee which not only reduced his playing time but also meant he was unable to train for large parts of the off season.
Back in 2013 Roma fans also grew increasingly concerned for the well-being of the forward after someone put together a side-by-side comparison of how the player looked then compared with how he looked the previous year.
Clearly carrying more weight than before, the comparison soon grew into an internet gag that predicted Destro one day becoming Hagrid from Harry Potter!
Destro Gets Dirty
While the Italian’s explosive Roma debut was bad enough, the 23-year-old somehow managed to outdo himself in April 2013 following an incident that won Destro few in the way of fans.
The undoubted star of the show after netting a hat-trick, those efforts in front of goal were ultimately overshadowed after Destro was captured by TV cameras punching opposing Cagliari defender Davide Astori in the side of the head when challenging for the ball before falling to the ground theatrically.
At the time the referee missed the incident – opting instead to book Astori – but a review of the footage was enough to convince the authorities to punish Destro with a three-match ban for violent conduct , which became four based on accumulated yellow cards. Check out the incident below.
Destro’s World Cup dream
Despite narrowly missing out on a place in Cesare Prandelli’s Italy squad, rumours persist that Destro took the news very badly, going as far as to refuse to be named on a standby list for the finals.
Part of the 30-man preliminary squad, Italian media reports claimed the forward refused to be on the roster of players available in the event of an injury to anyone in the final squad.
Since these reports, Destro has gone on the warpath, taking to Roma’s official Twitter account to refute the accusations made.
"Although I'm obviously disappointed, I've never refused any role in the national team," he tweeted.
"I'll get straight down to work for a great season with my club and the national team, which remains one of my main targets."