Better Than The Ox? Why Davide Zappacosta Is A Shrewd Signing By Chelsea
I love transfer Deadline day. It is a chance for football teams, managers, agents, journalists and the fans to clash in 24 hours of thrills and spills. Football at it’s finest and most cinematic, and if Chelsea F.C was a story at the moment, it would be Macbeth. A tragedy for a king who fought so hard to win the throne, but there is still hope for the Champions, with a deal for the Italian wing-back Davide Zappacosta for £23million having been completed. So with the sun setting across an ever changing battleground for the blues, will this signing be a tragedy or a love story for Chelsea?
Conte’s newest signing is a fellow Italian who he knows very well, the 25 year old full-back was called up by the Blues coach for the Italian national team. Though he didn’t make the cut and was not included in the final squad for the Euro’s, he trained under the demanding Conte and knows the 3-4-3 system very well, the Italian who Chelsea only started to target yesterday, was a surprise even to the Italian journalists.
The deal almost screams ‘panic buy’, with Chelsea losing out on top wing-back target Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, who preferred a role in the midfield rather than at wing-back.
But the real question is, how does Chelsea’s newest wide man match up to Chelsea’s current wide man, Victor Moses? Moses was a revelation last season, after spending multiple loans across the country. Last year, the Nigerian scored 3 goals from this defensive position, from 15 shots on target. He gained only 2 assists, which may be down to the very low 14% cross accuracy the Nigerian currently has.
However, defensively, the Nigerian shouted “you shall not pass” to opposition players with a surprising 81% tackle success, blocking 18 shots and intercepting 41 times. Yet, in the air, Moses struggled, losing 57 battles in the air and winning only 37.
Meanwhile, Zappacosta is a player of great energy and technique, able to play at both right-wing back and left-wing-back. What is really promising about this deal is the Italian’s 40% aerial duel success, which is an area in which Moses seems to struggle.
While only scoring a single goal in the 2016/17 season, Zappacosta was deployed at right-back rather than Conte’s preferred wing-back position where he will be deployed in. But despite this, he gained 5 assists by playing in a deeper position, which is 3 more than Moses.
What is really striking is his ability to strike a football. The Torino man likes to take shots from distance which may see Chelsea have two dangerous assassins at full-back; with a licence to thrill down the wing but not spill and make mistakes at the back. However, he sometimes has lapses in concentration and doesn’t overly commit to tackles, something that Chelsea fans will hope Conte will eliminate from his overall game.
Despite losing out on Danilo to Manchester City and more surprisingly Oxlade Chamberlain at the 12th hour to Liverpool, Chelsea still have a very good player on their hands, and don’t forget that Chelsea signed Marcos Alonso on Deadline day last season and what a player he turned out to be.
At 25 years of age, Chelsea fans will hope that this Costa will turn out to be as good as the previous one. Maybe he is not the English Hitman that Chelsea fans wanted at wing-back but this Italian Sniper will be ready to provide depth to the blues’ squad on the left and the right. It is just yet to be seen whether this sniper hits the mark as operation “Win the Title” commences at Stamford Bridge.