This article was written before the game against Hellas Verona,where Destro scored his first goal of the season.
Mattia Destro is arguably going through his worst period since arriving in Emilia-Romagna. Destro left Roma for Bologna in 2015, arriving at the club as they’ve just secured promotion to the Serie A. The transfer caused a lot of hype among Bologna fans, and most were excited about the fact that Bologna had landed a very good player. His first season in Bologna was a good one as he scored eight goals for the club, and Bologna eventually finished 11th. His second season at the club was even better as he improved his goal tally, and finished the season with 11 goals.
As Bologna strengthened their team massively this summer, Destro was expected to gain from playing in front of a better team, and thus score more goals this season. Now, as we’re in mid November, Destro has played nine games (at the time of writing this article) and is yet to score. Why Destro is having such a tough season is not easy to understand, but before analysing this, here’s how Destro got where he is today.
Destro’s career started at Ascoli as a youth player, The road then lead to Inter’s youth sides, and there he won the league both at u-15 level and u-17. In 2008, he was part of Inter’s primavera side which won the Viareggio tournament. His best season at Inter was in 2009-10, as he was the Capocannoniere with 18 goals.
Destro then went to Genoa in part of an exchange which saw Andrea Ranocchia go to Inter. His time in Liguria was not good though, as he only played 16 games and scored two goals for the club. In 2011, Destro moved to the club that would rocket his career. Siena had just achieved promotion to the Serie A, and Destro moved there on loan. He finished the season as their top-scorer with 12 goals to his name. This was a very high number of goals when considering the fact that he played for a bottom half team.
The following summer Roma splashed the cast to sign Destro from Genoa. During his time in the capital he played 57 goals and scored 24 goals. This was the most impressive part of Destro’s career, as he proved to the whole of Italy that he could do it at the top-level. In January of 2015 he went to AC Milan on loan, and he played 15 games scoring three goals. This concluded his time before Bologna, and he thus went from being one good player among many, to being the top player at his new club in Emilia-Romagna.
As written above Destro is now going through his worst period at the club. No goal thus far this season is terrible, but what is worse for him is the fact that both new signing Rodrigo Palacio and Bruno Petkovic have been preferred by Roberto Donadoni as the main striker. Destro thus went from being the main man up front for Bologna, to being behind the veteran Palacio, and the inexperienced Petkovic. This has been a big disappointment for him, but his performances have not been good enough, and coach Roberto Donadoni’s choice to put him on the bench is correct.
Palacio has been Bologna’s main striker this season, as his work-rate, technique, and, most importantly, smartness have earned him his place in the team. The Argentinian only has two goals thus far, but it was very evident how important he has been for the team when he got injured. He had to watch 2-3 games from the sidelines, and during that period Donadoni opted for Petkovic as the striker. Federico Di Francesco was also playing up front at times, and this shows us that Donadoni had lost faith in Destro. However, it now seems as Destro has regained Donadoni’s trust, and that he will start up-front against Hellas Verona. The rumours are that he will be part of a front three consisting of Palacio, Verdi and himself. With Palacio and Verdi out wide, Destro should be given enough support so that he can once again thrive as Bologna’s main striker.
Destro is an agile player who throughout his career has succeeded because of his high level of anticipation, and therefore his ability to be in the right place at the right time. He is your typical number 9, the striker who lurks inside the box, eager to pounce on a loose ball. He is also always on the alert when his teammates have the ball, ready to receive a pass behind the opposition defence. His agility and anticipation, along with his excellent finishing makes him a very good striker.
Because of his qualities it can seem strange that he is struggling as much as he does at the moment. Of course, all players experience periods of bad form, but the fact that he has still not scored this season is worrying. This can be down to the fact that he is the kind of striker that relies on his teammates. Destro has never been the kind of player that creates something entirely on his own by dribbling past three defenders before putting the ball into the net. If one takes a look at all goals scored by Destro, then one sees that most of them are in fact your typical “poacher goal”. A ball played through the lines, a cross from a winger, or mistakes from opposition defence. Destro is very reliant on playing for a team that create chances for him, and this may be the biggest factor for why he is yet to score this season. When Destro has played this season, he has not been offered a lot of support, and he has not gotten a lot of chances. Without chances, Destro will not score a lot of goals. It is therefore wrong to only critisize Destro for his lack of goals, but fingers also have to be pointed towards Donadoni, because he needs to find a way to give the striker more support.
How to get the best out of Destro:
As touched upon above, Destro needs a good supporting cast to perform. If Bologna as a team performs better, and his teammates are able to create more chances for him, the goals will eventually come. Donadoni has lately been speaking of highly improved Destro, and it seems as though he will be starting up front against Verona. Donadoni has also talked about Destro as highly motivated, and this bodes well for Bologna. The Verona game can be just what is needed to relaunch Destro’s season, especially with Palacio and Verdi on either side of him. It also seems as Donadoni wants the two wide forwards to contribute less in defence, and this is something that can give them more space to create chances for Destro.
A Destro back to his best would be beneficial to Bologna as a whole. He is, arguably, the player with the most potential in the entire club, and to get him back into the line up, and most importantly, to get him back to his best, will help Bologna achieve their ambitions. Destro was the first big player to come to Bologna after owner Joey Saputo bought the club, and he was an acquisition that stated that Bologna wanted to improve as an organization. His first two season at the club were all right, but he needs to improve. If Destro fulfills his potential at Bologna, then he will play his way right into the heart of everyone who loves Bologna.