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Arsenal may be in danger of signing Italy’s answer to Arshavin

| 20.01.2015

An Italy international that averages nearly a goal every two games for AS Roma in Serie A, on paper Mattia Destro sounds like the ideal signing for Arsenal but the Gunners should err on the side of caution when it comes to the 23-year-old striker.

According to a report from The Metro, Destro’s agent has arrived in London ahead of a potential move to the Emirates having been told by the Giallorossi that he can leave the Stadio Olimpico this month.

But Arsenal and Arsene Wenger would be wise to heed a warning from history before signing on the dotted line for the £15m-rated forward.

Six years ago the club was in a similar position – a striker with a fine record abroad, who came highly rated, was seeking a move to the Premier League.

Arsenal brought the striker to the club and the rest, as they say, is history with Andrey Arshavin going on to underwhelm for much of his time in England, dogged by weight and attitude problems for much of his time at the club.

And despite some striking differences between the two players there is more than a slight concern that Destro could follow a similar path upon his arrival in London.

Adjusting to life in the capital can be a challenge for even the best of footballers moving from abroad – Mezut Ozil offers the most obvious example.

But Destro’s track record should have Arsene Wenger more than just a little concerned.

Like Arshavin, the Italian is undoubtedly a talented player, but he nevertheless struggled with injuries and fitness during the early part of his time in Rome.

The 23-year-old’s debut campaign at the club was consistently hampered by injuries, particularly to his right knee while he returned in the early part of the 2013-14 season looking haggard and unfit, with his pre-season squad photo the subject of much scutiny.


Allied to his seeming ability to gain weight at an alarming rate is Destro’s lack of discipline on the pitch.

For Arshavin it manifested itself at international level, with the Russian playmaker missing the national side’s first two games at Euro 2008 following a straight red card in qualifying.

Destro, by comparison, was suspended back in April 2014 after replays revealed the forward was guilty of not only punching Cagliari defender Davide Astori off the ball but then falling to the ground theatrically in a move that earned his opposing number a yellow card.

Subsequently banned for three games as a result of the incident, Arsenal would be wise to take care when weighing up a move for the forward, who has managed just five goals so far in the league this term.

Arshavin managed just six during his final season with Zenit St Petersburg and with the Russian now considered one of Arsene Wenger’s worst ever signings Arsenal will be hoping history does not repeat itself.

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Jack Beresford

Jack Beresford is a content writer with over five years of experience in writing about sport and betting, including a two-year spell with Axonn Media. Contributes articles to HereIsTheCity and Lad Bible, while previous credits include Bwin, FTB Pro, Bleacher Report and the QBE rugby. Avid follower of tennis, rugby union, motorsport and football, Jack also writes about poker for Cardspiel.com alongside Guardian journalist Dominic Wells.