Date: 16th July 2012 at 11:55am
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The season may have ended on the pitch but there may well be another derby d’Italia contested over the summer with Italy’s two biggest clubs set to lock horns over one of the peninsula’s most prodigious young marksmen.

Mattia Destro has been drawing attention to himself with a series of impressive displays for Siena in Serie A and a big future is expected for him, so much so that a scramble is expected for his services during the summer mercato period. The promising young striker has an important choice to make which could be hugely influential on his future progress.

Mattia Destro was born in Ascoli in 1991 and took to football early on, partly due to the influence of his father, the former player and coach Flavio Destro. He joined the youth setup of his local side, Ascoli where his father worked and progressed there until he was spotted by Inter. After making his way up through the Beneamata ranks, he scored 18 goals in the 2009–10 national Primavera championships and was only outscored by a certain Mario Balotelli.

After receiving his first call up into the Nazionale youth scale, he has become a fixture and has represented Italy at each level up to U-21. Particular success came at U-19 level where he managed a very impressive 16 goals in 14 appearances before graduating to the U-21 team, after an injury to Alberto Paloschi created space for him to start.  He has contributed 5 goals in 13 appearances thus far.

After some years in the Inter youth academy, Destro found himself with an impossible task to try and break into a team which had just won the treble, under Jose Mourinho. It had been the Portugese managers staff that scouted and recommended Destro after spotting him at Ascoli, however it was difficult to see at this age, how he would get into such a highly experienced side.

He was included as a makeweight in the deal which took Andrea Ranocchia to Inter from Genoa, which wasn’t ideal for the Serpenti as they would have preferred to hold on to him, but at the time, their need for the centre back was more pressing.  It was here at the Marassi that he made his first senior appearances in Serie A scoring two goals. His first start came in September 2010 and was rewarded with a goal after just six minutes.

The deal was initially on loan and Genoa decided to take up the option to make the deal permanent for around £4 million however they allowed him to go on and join Siena on loan with the option to buy half his contract.

It was here that Destro found the space he needed to get a run of starts, particularly after the injury to Emmanuele Calaio in March, making 30 appearances in total and he managed to convert this into an impressive haul of 12 goals this season, which is a decent return when you consider that he is at one of the smallest clubs in the division. This performance led to a 14th place finish for the Bianconeri and was probably the decisive factor in keeping them out of the relegation fight.

Mattia is a hard working forward who is not afraid to tackle even if he is still rough round the edges, his hold up play is not the best either but this will improve in time. His main strength is undoubtedly his finishing and heading which are both accurate and composed. Destro has won praise not only for scoring but for the nature of his goals, having put away some nerveless finishes. His instinct for being in the right place is reminiscent of Fillipo Inzaghi. Possessing decent pace, his dribbling still needs work but all of the ingredients seem to be there for him to develop into a top class marksman

This remarkable season got even better in May when he was named amongst Cesare Prandelli’s 32 man preliminary squad for Euro 2012; “His call-up to the national squad is no fluke,” said Giuseppe Sannino, Siena’s coach. “Prandelli would have seen how the player has improved, but I don’t think he knows just how good he actually is.”

This call up is an indication that Destro is not your average goal poacher, as we know that Prandelli does not favour predictable out and out strikers. The former Juventus utility man likes his players to show versatility and most importantly not to be obvious in their approach so that they don’t give opponents an easy reference point to defend from.

It is unlikely that he will make the final cut this time but the experience of training with the senior Azzurri squad is only going to increase his motivation to reach the big time. A more likely scenario will see him integrated over the following World cup qualifiers for Brazil 2014.

With Inter ready to admit their mistake and battle with Juventus for his signature, and Genoa still likely to have a say in the matter, the immediate future is not clear. The forward is likely to prefer going where he can start every game so perhaps if he is signed by one of the giants he will find himself out on loan again. Either way, the outlook is extremely promising, and his development should be well worth following over the coming years.

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