Apparently the rumor mongers of the calcio world didn't read my diatribe against the mere thought of a Mattia Destro sale because the fabricated transfers, no matter how haphazard, have picked up steam since the transfer window opened earlier this week. From the reappearance of the Wolfsburg links that plagued us over the summer, to rumors of Arsenal's recent 15million pound offer, to the supposed swap for Stephan El Shaarawy, it appears as though Mattia Destro's name is being mentioned in not so hushed tones in nearly every corner of the internet. The internet is a polygon, right?
The latest Destro rumor to hit the rumor radar has Roma considering two separate swap deals for their 23-year-old hitman. Having their reported El Shaarawy swap rebuffed, AC Milan are reportedly lining up two offers for Mr Right. The first, a six month loan with a mandatory purchase clause, would see the Rossoneri fork over Roma's reported €20m valuation of Destro in two installments: five million for the loan, with the additional fifteen coming in June.
While we won't quibble with Roma's valuation of Destro (seems a bit low, if we're being honest), that offer is less than overwhelming. However, if cash ultimately proves not to be king, Milan might offer 30-year-old forward Giampolo Pazzini as a make weight (no word whether or not cash would be included, but fucking hell, you'd hope so). Yes, that's right, for the kid who scored nearly a goal every 90 minutes last season, Milan is graciously willing to offer Mr. Pazzini, the man who has scored 22 goals over the past three plus seasons....in total.
Even by winter rumor standards, that's a bunch of malarkey.
However, not to be outdone, the British and Italian press has latched onto a rumor that would have made tremendous sense five years ago, a straight swap for Fiorentina's Adonis-like forward, Mario Gomez. You know the story with Gomez, beyond being tall and impossibly handsome, he was, not that long ago, one of the most prolific goal scorers on the planet, grabbing 132 goals over eight Bundesliga seasons before making the move to Firenze.
Unfortunately for Gomez, his once promising career has hit the skids since moving to the Viola. Through his first 18 months in Florence, not only has Gomez's goal scoring gone the way of the dodo, he's seldom been able to take the pitch, making only 20 appearances since last August.
Still, he's only 29-years-old and averaged a solid 0.54 goals per 90 minutes last season for Fiorentina, a figure which would have trailed only Destro last year on Roma's roster, so it's not as if Gomez is devoid of value, but who in their right mind would swap a kid who has barely scratched the surface for a man whose once glorious rose is already losing its bloom?
Now, if Fiorentina are looking to cut bait with Gomez, then hell yes, sign him up, he'd be a great addition to Roma's attack, but not at this cost. Frankly, short of a like-for-like swap of a player of a similar age and career trajectory, there aren't many likely scenarios in which Roma should part ways with Destro.
Granted, I'm firmly in the pro-Destro camp, but without him, Roma would simply have no presence at the vanguard of their attack. Furthermore, without a ready-made replacement, Roma are better off waiting for the summer market, when the market is livelier. Point being, there aren't many forwards that young, that talented, and that cost controlled available on the transfer market, so unless you're absolutely certain you can replace that production at a similar cost, or free up room in the budget to get the type of player who scores like Destro, then you have to hang onto him.
Really, these incessant rumors are more about circumstances than shortcomings. Even if you don't call him the next big thing or simply think he finds himself in the right spot more often than not (which really is a skill when you think about it), few can deny that what Destro has achieved at his age is quite impressive.
No, what we're really dealing with here is a club that has a tremendous asset, one which fits more into their future than their present, pitting the collective patience of the club, Destro and his agents, against the sticky fingers and greener pastures of the world's largest clubs, which can provide Destro with all the acclaim in the world, but might not necessarily be the proper incubator for his prodigious talents.
It's going to be a long winter.