Out of favour Chelsea defender Davide Zappacosta could reportedly be heading back to Italy this summer, with AS Roma taking serious interest in signing him.
Davide Zappacosta’s time at Chelsea could be coming to an end this summer, according to a report from Italian publication Calciomercato as the right-back, who has struggled for game time in England, is set to be offered an escape route by Serie A giants AS Roma.
Zappacosta arrived at Chelsea from Torino in a £25 million deal in the summer of 2017, but has failed to make much of an impact at the Stamford Bridge. In his two years with the West London outfit, the Italian has managed just 52 appearances, scoring twice and setting up four more.
Zappacosta was rarely used in the 2018-19 campaign by Maurizio Sarri, with Cesar Azpilicueta being the undisputed choice at right-back. The 26-year-old ended the season with just 17 games under his belt, with only one being a Premier League start among them.
Heading into the new season, Chelsea are likely to use academy graduate Reece James as backup for Azpilicueta in the first-team, after the youngster’s breakthrough campaign in the Championship with Wigan Athletic. In fact, the Blues have already knocked down a £10 million offer for the 19-year-old from fellow Premier League side Brighton & Hove Albion.
With James set to be integrated into the first-team and Azpilicueta’s spot nailed down, Zappacosta is likely to see his game time reduce even further next time out. And Roma are looking to capitalize on the situation, by offering the right-back a chance to return to his homeland.
Roma have Alessandro Florenzi as their first-choice at right-back, but backup option Rick Karsdorp struggled in the limited opportunities that were afforded to him, with his individual errors in the Champions League Round of 16 second leg contest against Porto playing a big part in the Giallorossi getting eliminated.
Roma, who are currently without a manager and a sporting director, are eyeing Torino’s Gianluca Petrarchi for the latter role. The 50-year-old was the one who signed Zappacosta at Torino from Atalanta back in 2015 and is looking to reunite with the Italian at the Stadio Olimpico this summer.
However, Chelsea’s two-window transfer ban, imposed by FIFA for breach of rules in signing of under-age players, could stop them from offloading Zappacosta in the summer, even though he is not likely to be involved a lot in the first-team next season.
The managerial situation at Chelsea could also have a bearing on Zappacosta’s potential transfer to Roma as Sarri continues to be linked with a move to Juventus, with Steve Holland emerging as a possible replacement for the Italian. It remains to be seen if the 26-year-old defender remains a Blues’ player next season or seals a return to Italy.