D'Agostino could have left Roma
By Tom Adams
Last Updated: 01/01/70 1:00am
Gaetano D'Agostino was approached by Arsenal and Celtic whilst on youth terms.Just days after ex-Roma starlet Raffaele De Martino left for a lucrative move to Swiss side Bellinzona, Gaetano D'Agostino's father has revealed that his son had similar offers.
De Martino attracted criticism for leaving the Stadio Olimpico, but was free to move as he had not signed a full professional contract.
Now Giuseppe D'Agostino has lifted the lid on the process that saw his son become the subject of similar approaches from Celtic and Arsenal.
The Premiership giants are particularly adept at luring young foreign stars away before a professional contract has been signed, a policy beginning with Nicolas Anelka and carried on into recent years with Mathieu Flamini and Arturo Lupoli.
Giallorossi starlet D'Agostino was spotted in a youth tournament in 2000, and was approached with lucrative offers to continue his career abroad.
"Five years ago Gaetano had been in Scotland with the Italian Under-16 team and I can say that firstly we had been contacted by Glasgow Celtic and then from Arsenal," the player's father told Corriere dello Sport.
"They made us similar offers, there were talks about three-year contracts on the basis of about é¼60,000, then another é¼50,000 for a positive answer.
"Arsenal added to this board and lodging expenses, in addition to a few airplane tickets to come back to Italy.
"There was a big curiosity and I can say that the money would have been good for us, but with my son I decided to call Bruno Conti [Roma youth team coach] and inform him.
"It seemed to me to be close to selling my son for money, that I was forcing him to change his life to earn, at his age."
The player was rewarded for his loyalty with a new contract, and D'Agostino senior has expressed the debt he owes to the Roma hierarchy for their faith in the 23-year-old.
"Roma proposed us a minimum contract and we immediately accepted, because for me what counts more is the gratitude.
"Roma opened their doors to Gaetano, and when I say Roma I mean president Franco Sensi and Bruno Conti.
"Today Gaetano's contract is improved but this is another story, we signed for a sum of about é¼10,000, against é¼60,000 just for thankfulness.
"Do I regret it? No, whatever way my son will take, we would have to still be grateful to Franco Sensi and Bruno Conti."