Connect in the back of the net

With the transfer window now closed, managers must assess their new recruits, while others were left frustrated on missing out on key targets.

With Chelsea manager Antonio Conte actively looking for significant players such as Romelu Lukaku, Alex Sandro and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, people were surprised when Italian defender Davide Zappacosta was snapped out hours before the transfer window closed.

A few eyebrows were raised as many did not hear of the now ex Torino player but Zappacosta was called up to the national team by Conte, during the Italians time as national coach.

Although he never made his debut under the Italian, it did suggest that Conte was impressed with the player and a possible reason why he was acquired from Torino. We take a closer look at his playing history, playing position and his prospects with Chelsea.

 

Career in Italy

Davide Zappacosta has spent his career to date in Italy, playing for such teams as Avellino, Atalanta and Torino, where he won his first international cap while playing with the latter.

He was a regular with Atalanta and Torino and helped the former to maintain their status in Serie A, while assisting Torino in a push for European contention.

However, none of these teams have challenged for silverware or even a title, which could put Zappacosta at a disadvantage for Chelsea.

With the Blues challenging on all fronts for domestic and continental honours, Zappacosta must adapt to the intensity and pressure for playing for a club with high expectations.

 

Playing style

Although he was not the primary signing that Conte was seeking, the capture of Zappacosta does bring much needed to cover to an apparent slender squad.

Zappacosta can be deployed as a right back and also can play as a wing back in Conte’s favoured 3-5-2 formation. This would bring relief to Conte as he was frantically seeking to add depth to his wingback positions.

From a defensive perception, Zappacosta made 1.5 tackles per game, while also intercepting the ball from the opposition 1.3 times. He also made 2 clearances per game, which shows his capable of preventing other teams from scoring.

From an offensive viewpoint, Zappacosta has scored 1 goal and 5 assists last season. Although this came from a right back position, this would appease Chelsea as Zappacosta can provide a spark for them as he is more than capable taking on his opponents.

 

Will he break into the first team?

The question that Chelsea fans will be wondering is Zappacosta proficient enough to break into the first team.

It is expected that Zappacosta will challenge Victor Moses for the right wing back position. However, given the Moses excellent season last year, it may prove difficult for him to break into the first team straight away.

Yet, the fact that Zappacosta can play in two positions, it provides him with a better opportunity to have consistent game time  for Chelsea. This would provide him with experience, where he can go from that and become a regular for the team.

 

Verdict

Overall, the signing of Zappacosta is welcoming for Chelsea.

His dynamic style of play adds depth to the squad, while having the ability in playing in two positions gives Conte more options for his team selection.

Although critics will point out that the Italian has no experience in winning silverware or even challenging for honours, one can only look at Marcos Alonso for inspiration.

A one-time Bolton and Sunderland player, Alonso has now developed into a fierce left wingback and dead ball specialist. With this in mind, one should give Davide Zappacosta time to adapt.

 

Written by James Reidy

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