Following a captivating weekend of Serie A action, the race for the 2014-15 Scudetto now appears to be a straight two-horse race, with last season’s duopoly Juventus and Roma going head-to-head once more.
Third-placed Lazio are offering something of a revival this term, but having relinquished a two-goal lead at the Stadio Olimpico have thrown away a golden opportunity to wade in amongst the division’s big boys.
So often the hero over an incredible 22-year tenure in the Giallorossi’s first team, Francesco Totti was again the man to drag Roma back from the brink, scoring twice in the second half to rescue a point for Rudi García’s men.
The evergreen 38-year-old continues to lead the line for Roma with the vigour of a younger man and most importantly is still getting amongst the goals and contributing to the team’s continued efforts.
Totti caused something of a storm in a teacup by showing that despite pushing 40 he can embrace popular modern culture, taking a ‘selfie’ on a mobile phone after netting against Lazio.
The war of words between the respective club presidents and leading figures at each institution is ongoing. Regardless, Totti looks set to continue starring for Roma for the foreseeable future.
Despite coming to the end of an illustrious career, Totti continues to prove that he is more than good enough to perform in Serie A and the Champions League, but his prolonged presence in the Roma team is inhibiting a young star that could well follow in his sizeable footsteps.
Mattia Destro has been the major victim of Totti’s Indian summer, with the 23-year-old forced to bide his time in the search for regular action; he has largely watched on from the bench this season, playing second fiddle to the club captain.
In García’s bespoke 4-3-3 formation there is only room for one central striker, with the wide attackers expected to work back and make a five-man midfield when the Giallorossi don’t have the ball.
As such it really only can be Totti or Destro, not both.
The former Inter youth product displayed his ruthless eye for goal last season, netting 13 Serie A goals for the capital city club despite only starting 14 games.
His record in a sole season at Siena prior to moving to Rome was impressive, while Destro has represented Italy from under-16 level through to the senior team, hitting the back of the net with regularity along the way.
However, with only seven league starts this season and the striker recently admitting his frustration at not being able to play more regularly, rumblings in the over-excitable Italian press that AC Milan want Destro are gathering pace.
Roma may well have Gervinho in their squad also, who is versatile enough to play as the central attacker in the side’s system, but in the long term Destro represents the closest thing to a ready-made Totti replacement at García’s disposal.
Although the promising striker has offered a limited contribution to Roma’s progression this season, discounting Destro could well be a significant mistake by the capital city side.
Allowing Destro to swap the Stadio Olimpico for the San Siro, even if the reported €20 million transfer fee is coughed up by the notoriously thrifty Rossoneri, would rob Roma of a natural goalscorer and a player that is only going to improve with additional first-team football.
Totti is the undoubted main man for Roma in their current resurgence and battle for silverware, but Destro represents the future – selling him would be incredibly short-sighted on the club’s behalf.