Today was not exactly a banner day for Roma, as the departure of Mattia Destro to AC Milan and the news that Kevin Strootman will be sidelined for several weeks following exploratory surgery to his previously repaired knee dealt a double blow to Serie A's second place side. For the time being, Roma are without their only nominal striker, with no immediate replacement lined up either, and will once again be forced to contend without Strootman's steadying and far reaching influence in the midfield.
As far as the particulars of Destro's move are concerned, Mr. Right is joining Milan on a six month €700,000 loan, who then have the option to make the move permanent for approximately €15 to €16.5m, or roughly two to three million more than Roma paid for him just two years ago. Milan will then sign Destro through 2019 at a reported €2.2m clip.
If you've read anything I've written on young Mr. Destro over the past two years, you know my stance on this move; I think it's incredibly foolish and incredibly short sighted. Destro may be dependent upon the service of his teammates to be effective, but so are 99% of the other players on the planet, and while he may not fit Garcia' schemes to a T, ask yourself this; at only 23-years-old, who stands to have a longer career in Roma, Destro or Garcia?
The fact of the matter is coaches in Italy seldom last more than three of four years at one job, while Roma has been jonesing for a true striker for far much longer than that; one who can put the ball in the back of the net while co-existing with Francesco Totti and Miralem Pjanic, who see the lion's share of the ball. As we chronicled here, since he broke through with Siena, Destro has been among the league's most efficient scorers, a stat that carries additional weight when you consider how little of the ball he actually sees in any given match.
The Destro Dossier
The Destro Dossier
And while we may never know what the true impetus behind this move, without knowing what comes next, we can rightfully question the prescience of a move that robs Roma of her leading goal scorer and only true threat up front.
We can, however, question, ponder and consider a few things in the meantime:
1) Was Mattia Destro truly a Baldini purchase?
We have to remember when Roma successfully traversed the three-way transfer with Siena and Genoa for his services, it was Franco Baldini at the helm, not Big Walt, so perhaps Sabatini wasn't bowled over by Destro's performance last season.
2) What does this say about their belief in Rudi Garcia?
I'm not suggesting this was an NFL style player vs coach showdown, but Sabatini and Pallotta have clearly put their eggs in Garcia's basket, why else would they jettison such a young, cost controlled and productive asset for a mere two to three million Euro profit?
If Garcia truly felt that Destro didn't fit his schemes, getting rid of him so cheaply and to one of your biggest rivals, no less, seems to suggest that Garcia is here for the long haul
3) What now?
Surely there are a host of other questions and concerns in the wake of this sale, but none more important than this one. With Sabatini whiffing/being rebuffed on Yheven Konoplyanka and Luiz Adriano, where does Roma turn for help up front? As it stands now, it's either the aging Marco Borriello or the not ready for prime time Tonny Sanabria; not exactly a win-win situation there. To dump Destro with no immediate replacement is, quite frankly, a dereliction of duty on Sabatini's part.
Destro's Roma career finishes as follows: 29 goals in 46 appearances in all competitions, good for 0.66 goals per 90 minutes. I'm gonna stop there because I'm pretty upset/confounded by this move, particularly if Destro's rumored replacement, Seydou Dembia, comes at a cost of €18m.
The window closes in two days, Walt, if you're going to heal our wounds with a Stevan Jovetic sized salve, get a move on.