Jose Mourinho may no longer be the undisputed greatest manager in world football but the Manchester United boss still has the experience, the knowledge and the foresight to spot an elite talent when he sees one – even if Kevin de Bruyne, Mo Salah and Romelu Lukaku might argue otherwise.
And Newcastle United fans should be enthused by the fact that their January striker target, Mattia Destro, has a firm admirer in his one-time Inter Milan coach Mourinho.
According to Calciomercato, Rafa Benitez has renewed his interest in the Bologna striker, who was also linked with a switch to St James’ Park in the summer.
Now, the 27-year-old may have failed to live up to the potential that saw him previously earn moves to Roma and AC Milan, and he hasn’t scored in six Serie A games this season, but Mourinho’s comments from 2014 give Newcastle fans something to hang onto.
“Mattia was a kid when I was at Inter,” the Portuguese boss told The Mirror (30 August 2014).
“Everyone knew at the club that his potential was there to be a top striker. He was unlucky because we had Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Adriano, then Samuel Eto’o, Diego Milito.”
The Mail reported just weeks later that Mourinho had tried to reunite with Destro at Chelsea, only for Roma to block his potential move to Stamford Bridge.
But for all Mourinho’s praise, Newcastle fans will still need convincing that a striker who has scored just six goals since the start of last season is the man to fire them away from the relegation battle.