After missing out on Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain to Liverpool and Fernando Llorente to London rivals Tottenham, it wasn’t exactly turning into the best deadline day for Chelsea supporters.
But in the blink of an eye an unexpected addition has been made to the ranks at Stamford Bridge, with defender Davide Zappacosta arriving from Serie A’s Torino for a fee in the region of £23 million.
Who is Davide Zappacosta?
To say that Davide Zappacosta’s career in Italy hadn’t taken off until a few years ago is a bit of an understatement, with the Italian only making his breakthrough in Serie A in the recent 2014-15 campaign.
Up until that point he had endured spells at Isola Liri and Atalanta – where he was immediately loaned out without playing a game – before he finally found regular first-team football at Serie B side Avellino.
He ended up playing there for three seasons between 2011 and 2014, making 93 appearances in all competitions as he helped them to promotion in a regional league, and he was a stand-out full-back.
After moving back to top-flight side Atalanta in June 2014 he was finally awarded his first taste of Serie A football in a 0-0 draw with Verona, and he very quickly became a key member of the squad.
He impressed so much so in his debut season that he attracted the attention of Torino, who used him to replace Matteo Darmian after his switch to Manchester United, and he continued his sudden rise to the pinnacle of the Italian game in the next two seasons, making a name for himself at the highest level.
His domestic performances eventually earnt him his debut call-up to the Italian national side – ironically by Chelsea boss Antonio Conte – before eventually earning his first cap in a World Cup qualifier last year.
What is the deal?
According to Chelsea’s official website – which put out a statement 22 minutes past the 11pm deadline – Zappacosta will join the Blues on a four-year deal, for a fee Sky Sports believe will be around £23million.
Where will the Italian fit in at Stamford Bridge?
If there was ever a player that was in the ‘Antonio Conte’ mould, this is him.
The good news for Chelsea is that Zappacosta is a natural in the right wing-back position, being utilised there at Torino and for the Italian national side, and he will be able to slot in seamlessly down in London.
Last season alone he produced 48 crosses, created 41 chances and earnt five assists due to his advanced positioning and willingness to attack, and he seems a perfect step up from Victor Moses.
At the same time he managed 74 clearances and 38 interceptions, highlighting just how effectively the Italian can function down that right flank, and Chelsea have just secured themselves an excellent coup.
What was the reaction to the switch?
Speaking to Chelsea’s official website about his arrival, Zappacosta said:
“It is a dream for me to join Chelsea and play in the Premier League. I am very excited to be here and start working with the team. I hope I can show my quality to the coach, my team-mates and the supporters.”