Mattia Destro – AC Milan’s new No. 9
He is finally here. Mattia Destro has joined AC Milan after Adriano Galliani had personally visited the AS Roma-owned striker at his residence, asking him to ‘open the door’. Milan had pursued Destro in the summer, making him a high-priority target along with Jackson Martinez. A blockbuster name (Mario Balotelli) was leaving the club, causing a vacuum that simply had to be filled. After much huffing and puffing, the club resigned to taking in a washed-up Fernando Torres off Chelsea’s hands. That predictable ordeal lasted for six months, and the Spaniard was sent packing to Atletico Madrid in the winter.
His replacement, Mattia Destro arrives from the capital at a potentially high cost. The financials are something like this – his loan would cost Milan €700,000 coupled with an option to purchase at €16 million. Milan apparently intend to make this payment over three installments, however, I expect the club to push for a better bargain at the end of the season. Destro could earn €2.5 million a season for five years at Milan, which is an upgrade from his previous wages of €2.2 million a season at Roma.
A simplified view of this move would suggest that Destro is merely a replacement for Torres. If the transfer is purely viewed through the prism of a replacement, there is little to deny that the newly arrived striker is a significant improvement over the incompetent Spaniard. But, it isn’t quite that simple.
Destro is a penalty box striker, a player who depends on service. La Gazzetta dello Sport provided an interesting fact – Destro has scored 36 of his 38 goals in Serie A from within the penalty box. As a player, he is extensively reliant on service and is likely to feel frustrated in a team that struggles to create opportunities.
Filippo Inzaghi’s side lack an identity and an ability to impose themselves on the game. They typically score against the run of play and are built to be a counter-attacking team. Destro could prove to be hugely beneficial with his skill-set. Or, he could feel entirely isolated, much like Giampaolo Pazzini, drawing him out of the box to get involved in the play.
His scoring rate isn’t one to sing songs about either. His numbers are above average at best. This Milan team needs a focal point in attack who is truly prolific, an acquisition that would require Milan to spend some serious money. Oddly, Milan are spending some serious money on Destro. Over the next five years, he could cost Milan close to €30 million. That is an outrageous amount of money for a striker who is considered to be on the fringes of a national team, which, in truth, is crying out for a quality centre forward.
Now that Destro is at Milan, and since I’m a Milan fan of ginormous proportions, I would barrack for him for as long as he wears the famed red and black jersey. However, my expectations are tempered and I will not withhold the pompous ‘I told you so’ attitude if he fails to make an impact at his new club.