Why Roma's Mattia Destro Has Been Serie A's Biggest Disappointment

Sumeet PaulContributor IJanuary 22, 2013

NAPLES, ITALY - JANUARY 06:  Mattia Destro (L) of Roma competes for the ball with Morgan De Santis of Napoli during the Serie A match between SSC Napoli and AS Roma at Stadio San Paolo on January 6, 2013 in Naples, Italy.  (Photo by Maurizio Lagana/Getty Images)
Maurizio Lagana/Getty Images

In the aftermath of PSG's double swoop for Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Thiago Silva last summer, La Gazzetta dello Sport ran a front-page spread discussing Serie A's "anti-crisis jewels."

Many believed that the loss of such big stars would weaken the Italian game, but the "pink paper" presented a counter-argument and emphasised the strength of the league through its youngsters.

Amongst the likes of Stephan El Shaarawy and Philippe Coutinho, the latter also being a candidate for this post, Mattia Destro has failed to live up to the standards expected of him.

Having shone last season with Siena, Destro joined Roma last summer and had many tipping him to flourish under the stewardship of Zdenek Zeman.

The Roma coach had been integral in the development of other young Italian stars such as Lorenzo Insigne and Marco Verratti while in charge of Pescara the previous season, and having sold Fabio Borini, there was plenty of reason for Destro to be hopeful.

However, the 21-year-old has struggled since his move to the Giallorossi, scoring just four goals in 16 league appearances. In his defence, his chances have been limited by the form of Zeman's preferred attacking trident of Erik Lamela, Osvaldo and Francesco Totti, but nevertheless there is undoubtedly more Destro can offer.

While it might perhaps be harsh to criticise the youngster so early into his career in the capital, it is perhaps a compliment to his unquestionable ability that he was pinpointed as being an individual capable of leading the league into a brighter future.

He made his international debut for the senior Italian national side in August last year, impressing in the defeat to England and will arguably remain a fixture in Cesare Prandelli's future Azzurri squads.

Rumours suggested a January switch to Milan after the Rossoneri decided to sell Alexandre Pato to Corinthians and were priced out of a move for Manchester City striker Mario Balotelli.

However, for now Destro remains at Roma and having had a chance to settle at the club, he will be hoping to break into the side and start showing the potential that had so many excited over him at the start of the season.