Who is Davide Zappacosta?: Chelsea’s new Italian right-back
Compared to the outlay required to bring in the likes of Alvaro Morata and Tiemoue Bakayoko, the £25m for Davide Zappacosta makes him one of Chelsea’s more modest summer additions. And the stats suggest he could be the best value signing of the bunch.
The numbers certainly add up
The right-back played 29 times for Torino last term, scoring once and racking up five assists. Despite a good campaign all round, Il Toro were definitely better with Zappacosta in the side, averaging 1.41 points with him in Serie A, and 1.33 without.
A classy passer of the ball, the 25-year-old is also confident dribbling down the wing and cutting inside.
As well as boasting a passing accuracy rate of 82% last term, he also created 41 chances for his teammates.
No UCL experience doesn’t make him unqualified
One thing the former Torino man lacks is European experience, with none of his previous clubs having featured in the Europa League or Champions League.
However, the fact Zappacosta has featured for Italy in away games against the likes of Netherlands shows he’s able to deal with the challenges posed by huge games in unfamiliar surroundings.
Who gets the regular spot?
Whether or not he can take Cesar Azpilicueta’s spot on the right-hand side of Chelsea’s back-three remains to be seen, but both can offer the Blues different things.
The Spaniard is a tidy player, but lacks the imposing physique and aerial ability of Zappacosta. That latter factor could prove especially useful when Chelsea visit some of the Premier League’s more physical sides.
The former Pescara ace also boasts an impressive clearance rate (2.85 per game in 2016-17), as well as having a well-earned reputation for last-gasp blocks. In matches where a real rearguard action is needed, he could prove vital – either starting, or from the bench.
While Azpilicueta is probably the stronger of the two coming forward, there’s not a huge amount in it – and we can certainly see the Italian getting his fair share of game-time this term.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing