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Chelsea

Done Deal: Chelsea confirm signing of Davide Zappacosta from Torino for £23 million

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Zappacosta

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.”

Will is a Multimedia Journalism graduate from the University of Salford, specialising in the art of sports. Long-time suffering Northampton Town fan who once saw us win a league title. Find him on Twitter - @96PearsonW.

Arsenal

Arsenal and Chelsea receive huge boost in pursuit of Aleksandr Golovin

The London rivals have been given an edge over Juventus in the pursuit it seems.

Jamie Watts

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Photo: Getty Images

London rivals Tottenham Hotspur and Chelsea have recieved a huge boost in their pursuit of Russian maestro Aleksandr Golovin, after the play-maker’s father revealed he is currently learning English, in quotes via Russian outlet Komsomolskaya Pravda.

Italian giants Juventus are said to be courting the CSKA Moscow midfielder closely, with some reports even claiming a deal had been agreed between the two clubs (Calciomercato). However, the new revelation from the player’s father suggests the move is anything but a formality, and Chelsea and Arsenal remain in the race.

“He [Golovin] now has one thing on his mind: the Russian team. But if such proposals are made, I believe that he will go abroad, play abroad,” the Russian international’s father claimed.

“Their football is of a different level, there is nowhere to hide. Speeds are different. I’m sure my son will be able to play at a new level. It will be more difficult with a foreign language. But I know that he has already started learning English.”

Photo: Getty Images

Arsenal have no plans of slowing down in the transfer window after agreeing a deal for 34-year-old Stephan Lichtsteiner and closing in on Lucas Torreira. SportBILD claims that a deal for Bernd Leno is also close to being completed, as personal terms have been agreed. And now it would appear Unai Emery is keen on continuing the pursuit for Golovin.

However, they will face stern competition from west London, as Chelsea have expressed an interest in signing the 22-year-old, with the Express claiming that the club are looking to quickly encore the managerial appointment of Maurizio Sarri with the Italian’s long-spanning target.

CSKA are said to want £22 million before they would be willing to do business for a player they regard as one of the most influential in their squad, while they also assert that a sell-on clause will be part of any deal, to ensure they dont miss out should the player’s market value drastically increase in the future, according to The Sun.

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Chelsea

Willian could hold key to Tottenham landing Anthony Martial

If Manchester United land the Brazilian it would undoubtedly improve Tottenham’s chances.

Jamie Watts

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Manchester United are reportedly preparing a £60 million bid to bring Chelsea winger Willian to Old Trafford this summer, according to reports from the Daily Mail, with manager Jose Mourinho having been linked with an approach for his former star for some time.

Chelsea were unwilling to sell at that time, but it is possible that Willian could be interested in a new challenge after apparently growing frustrated with life at Stamford Bridge, according to recent reports from Sky Sports. He managed a combined 25 goals and assists in 55 appearances in 2017/18, but only 20 of his 37 Premier League outings actually came as a starter.

Photo: Getty Images

Tottenham meanwhile, have become frustrated at United’s assertion that Anthony Martial will not be sold this summer (Sky Sports), after Mauricio Pochettino made the Frenchman his priority target last month (the Sun), as he looks to bolster the supply line to Harry Kane next term.

However, Martial’s revelation that he wants to leave the club could be vital for Spurs, as Mourinho has previously stated that he would never stop a player from moving if they really want the move and the money is right. And he’s backed up his words, selling two-time Chelsea Player of the Year Juan Mata to his current club in 2014.

Photo: Getty Images

The Red Devils are currently stacked in terms of depth for the left wing, with Marcus Rashford struggling to start games over January signing Alexis Sanchez, but wide-right is somewhat scarce and Willian would undoubtedly improve United’s balance for the better.

Although the manager would prefer the Frenchman went abroad, if he asked for the move to north London, Willian’s transfer to United would undoubtedly improve Pochettino’s chances of securing his key man. United will also be buoyed by their recent business with the west Londoners, having surprisingly secured the signing of Nemanja Matic from Stamford Bridge last summer.

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Atletico Madrid

Rafa Benitez should plot Fernando Torres reunion at Newcastle United

Rafa Benitez should plot a reunion with his former superstar.

Jamie Watts

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Newcastle United are reportedly in the market for new forwards this summer, with Rafa Benitez identifying the Magpies’ attacking output as a key weakness last term, despite their impressive 10th place finish.

The Spaniard is calling for the club to back him in pursuit of a “10 to 15 goals a season” striker this summer, with the likes of Salomon Rondon (Northern Echo) and Bas Dost (the Sun) circulating around the Newcastle rumour mill.

However, both would likely break the Magpies current club-record of £16 million – for Michael Owen from Real Madrid in 2005 – and perhaps Benitez would be better served going for a former favourite.

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Fernando Torres is a free-agent having left Atletico Madrid, following last month’s Europa League triumph and Newcastle should offer the 34-year-old a route back to England’s top flight this summer.

Under Benitez’s tutelage at Liverpool, Torres was widely recognised as one of the most formidable forwards in world football, and though his impact has diminished over the years, there’s no doubting the World Cup winner’s quality in front of goal.

Photo: Getty Images

The prospect of an elite level striker arriving at St James’ Park on a free transfer is a no brainier if the player can be convinced and the club should make it happen.  He knows the league inside-out, having made 212 appearances for Chelsea – where he won the Champions League – and with Benitez at Anfield, and he could instantly propel Newcastle’s attack to higher levels.

Becoming a crucial part of a new project on Tyneside would be enticing for Torres, as his unwavering desire and tenacity on a football pitch is something that cannot be questioned. And he doesn’t seem the type to move to the States or China in pursuit of one last pay-cheque.

He has all the attributes to become a cult-hero at Newcastle, and the club should act now.

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