Premier League champions Chelsea have reached an agreement with Torino FC for the transfer of Davide Zappacosta for a reported £23 million, plus add ons.
As per SkySports, the Italian international will be Chelsea’s fifth major signing of the summer after Willy Caballero, Antonio Rudiger, Tiemoue Bakayoko and Alvaro Morata. Zappacosta, now 25, had 2 seasons left on his current contract and has spent his entire career in Italy.
Much like last summer, Chelsea were linked with numerous fullbacks as they searched for players who could challenge Victor Moses and Marcos Alonso. After losing out on the likes of Danilo and Alex Sandro, they were forced to launch a late bid for the relatively unknown Zappacosta.
The Lazio-born fullback came through the youth ranks of his hometown club A.S.D. G.C. Sora. He spent the initial years of his youth playing upfront. 10 years later, he left Sora in 2008 to join now Serie D side, A.C. Isola Liri and would make his senior debut with the side in the 2009/10 season.
Davide Zappacosta: Only A. Sandro (48) has made more accurate crosses from open play of Serie A defenders than Zappacosta (47) since Jan ’16 pic.twitter.com/FQV632hIiz
— WhoScored.com (@WhoScored) August 31, 2017
In the summer of 2011, he was signed on by Serie B side U.S. Avellino on loan, which later turned into a permanent deal the following year. 3 seasons, 90 appearances, 3 goals and 2 assists later, he would return to Atalanta for a reported €900,000 fee in the summer of 2014.
— OptaPaolo (@OptaPaolo) August 31, 2017
He would feature a total of 30 times for La Dea that season, scoring 3 goals, providing 2 assists and helping them finish 17th in the Serie A, just avoiding relegation. He would be sold only a season later to fellow Serie A side FC Torino for €4 million, where he as remained since.
Now, 58 appearances, 2 goals and 6 assists later, the 25-year-old seems to be headed to Stamford Bridge to team up with a manager who knows him well. Incidentally, Conte handed Zappacosta his first call-up to Italian national side back in 2016. But, the Italian only made it as far as Italy’s 3-man reserve side for Euro 2016.
In Zappacosta, Conte has a player who is comfortable going forward and defending as well. He’s quick, a fairly good crosser of the ball and has a decent eye for goal. He can play at both right wing-back and fullback and will be familiar with Conte’s philosophy and tactics, making it easier for him to settle in at Cobham.
For the second straight season, Chelsea look set to sign a relatively unknown fullback from Italy. However, if Zappacosta can have the same kind of impact as Marcos Alonso has this past year, then this could be one of the best purchases of the summer.