Roma marksman Mattia Destro a surprise target for Villa?
Aston Villa (10/3 with Coral to be relegated) have emerged as surprise contenders to capture out-of-favour Roma forward Mattia Destro, though the Midlands men should expect to face a struggle for his services.
Villa boss Tim Sherwood is scouring the transfer market for top-draw striking recruits, with £32.5m marksman Christian Benteke finally set to complete his long-awaited move to Liverpool.
The Villans had previously been linked to English poaching pair Charlie Austin and Callum Wilson, of QPR and Bournemouth respectively, but Italian press are now reporting that Sherwood has switched his attention to the continent.
Highly-rated dangerman Destro, an Inter Milan academy graduate, began his senior career with short stints at Genoa and Siena before joining the Giallorossi in 2012.
Now 24, the talented sharpshooter has made 68 appearances for the Romans, netting 29 times, but failed to dislodge Eternal City icon Francesco Totti as leading man.
Reportedly unhappy with playing second fiddle at the Stadio Olimpico, Destro was shipped out to AC Milan last season, but floundered with the struggling side, striking just three times in 15 games, with one of those coming against his parent club.
Now in hope of reviving his reputation, Azzurri international Destro is apparently keen to seek pastures new permanently, with Roma rumoured to be happy to sell, especially if they land Manchester City striker Edin Dzeko as a replacement.
With Villa in need of attacking additions and Destro requiring an escape route from Rome, a move for the predator seems the perfect solution for both parties, yet Sherwood could face several stumbling blocks.
Destro is believed to be intent on staying put in Serie A, with reports suggesting the poacher has already snubbed advances from many clubs outside Italy, including Ligue 1 big-guns Monaco, revived Bundesliga outfit Wolfsburg and West Ham United.
Watch dangerous Destro’s goals:
If the Hammers, boasting a future stadium switch, Europa League football and a new boss in Slaven Bilic cannot tempt the attacker, the Villans (4/1 for a top 10 finish), who were embroiled in a relegation dogfight last term, have little chance of luring Destro to Villa Park instead.
The current Gialloross goal-getter could also be key to his side’s attempts to sign Chelsea-owned winger Mohamed Salah. The Egyptian international’s previous loan club Fiorentina are reportedly trying to block Salah from playing in Serie A this season, with accusations that the winger broke an agreement to return to Tuscany.
Should Roma offer Destro to the Viola as a sweetener, Salah could soon find himself playing in the capital, while Villa’s hopes of landing Destro may be dashed.