Garcia: Destro staying at Roma

Speaking ahead of Saturday’s Serie A game at Palermo, Garcia told the local media that Destro, who has been strongly linked with a move to AC Milan, is staying put.

“Destro is our striker and he is very important for Roma,” Garcia said on Friday. “I count on him for the second part of the season.

“In my team not just the starting XI are important, but the 14 that play in a game.”

The Italy international, who has scored four goals in 14 league appearances so far, is set to be handed his eighth Serie A start at Palermo, with captain Francesco Totti struggling with the flu.

Totti, who scored two second-half goals to help the Giallorossi to a 2-2 draw against Lazio in last weekend’s derby, will start on the bench.

Roma travel to La Favorita three points adrift of leaders Juventus, who host Hellas Verona on Sunday night.

The capital club have posted just two wins in their last five league games, but Garcia is confident his team will challenge Juve for the Scudetto.

“We will not give up on the Scudetto – not for one second and not for one millimetre,” Garcia said.

Roma will be without defender Vasilis Torosidis through injury and midfield pair Radja Nainggolan and Daniele De Rossi due to suspension.

Mid-table Palermo head into the contest with Argentinian playmaker Franco Vazquez having signed a four-year contract extension this week.

Vazquez, whose previous deal expired next summer, has been inspirational for the Sicilians this season, scoring five goals and providing five assists in 15 Serie A appearances so far.

The Argentinian will partner Palermo’s top scorer Paolo Dybala in attack this weekend.

Palermo have lost just once at La Favorita this term, but expect to be fully tested by Roma.

“It’s going to be a very difficult game for us,” Palermo coach Giuseppe Iachini said. “We need to be at our very best to beat them.”

The islanders saw their nine-match unbeaten run halted in last weekend’s 4-3 defeat at Fiorentina.