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Baldini in Italy to sell Sandro, buy striker?

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Mattia Destro to Spurs for under £15m? This looks like some pretty sweet business. But the sourcing is ... uncertain.

Paolo Bruno

Italian television station Sportitalia is reporting that Franco Baldini has arrived in Italy for two reasons. According to a story at Football-Italia.net, Sportitalia says that he's working out a deal for Tottenham Hotspur to sell Sandro to Napoli. This interest has been reported multiple times and is at least plausible.

Second, he's talking to Roma about purchasing striker Mattia Destro. The 23-year-old forward is priced around £13.6m according to Sportitalia. Destro led all players in Serie A last year in both non-penalty goals and assists per 90 minutes as well as expected goals and expected assists per 90 minutes. He scored 13 and assisted one in a little over 1200 minutes. On a purely stat scouting level, that is a ridiculously good price for a top striker who has proven himself on a top club.

There are, obviously, some problems here. The report has a too-good-to-be-true quality. It comes from Sportitalia, which I honestly have little context for but am not seriously inclined to trust. Even more than that, it only comes from Sportitalia via a report on Football-Italia, which I am decidedly not inclined to trust. So even if there were a reasonable report on Sportitalia, it might be inflated by Football-Italia.

A report on Tutto Mercato Web confirms that Sportitalia did link Spurs with Destro, but makes the report seem significantly less strong. Compare the wording. First Football-Italia:

Tottenham director Franco Baldini is in Italy, reportedly to buy Mattia Destro from Roma and sell Sandro to Napoli. According to Sportitalia, Baldini flew in on Friday and began intensive negotiations with two different Serie A clubs.

His main mission is to see whether Roma are prepared to sell centre-forward Destro, who scored 13 goals in just 20 Serie A games last season.

That sounds great. But Tutto Mercato Web writes, after detailing Baldini's possible sale of Sandro to Napoli:

Baldini, però, potrebbe formulare anche un'offerta per Mattia Destro, centravanti della Roma.

The google translate version of that is that Baldini might also be talking to Roma about Destro. There's nothing about the  £13.6m or other bits offered to juice the Destro story into something larger. It's significantly less strong than the Football-Italia report, and probably the more faithful transmission of the original story.

I think there's a good chance that this story is just that Baldini's gone off to sell Sandro to Napoli (boo!) and who knows, he could meet with Roma who will tell him to go away because they're playing Champions League this fall and don't need to sell the top NPG+A/90 striker in Italy. That's sort of sad.