Zappacosta arrives in Rome as Chelsea exit nears
Chelsea boss Frank Lampard has made another big call on the transfer front with right-back Davide Zappacosta set to join AS Roma on loan.
Lampard is clearly not afraid of making the big decisions and, after allowing David Luiz and Gary Cahill to leave Stamford Bridge this summer, another experienced defender is heading for the exit door.
Zappacosta has been photographed arriving at the airport in Rome and he is expected to undergo a medical and hammer out personal terms with the Giallorossi on Wednesday.
The deal that will see the 27-year-old spend the season at the Stadio Olimpico will be announced in the next 24 hours and Roma will be delighted to land their man.
There had been talk of a permanent move for the defender, but reports claim Chelsea’s £23million valuation scared off Roma, who will now sign him on loan with a view to possibly taking him long-term at the end of the spell.
Davide Zappacosta arrives in Rome…
— AS Roma English (@ASRomaEN) August 20, 2019
It could be a decision Chelsea regret if Zappacosta does not live up to expectations in Rome and they decide against taking him on a permanent basis.
He would then return to Chelsea with just 12 months remaining on his contract and could be difficult to move on for anything other than a nominal fee. Reducing the valuation this summer to enable a permanent deal to Roma could have been the way forward if Lampard does not see him in his future plans.
Zappacosta will be returning to Italy, where he impressed with Torino before opting to move to Chelsea on a four-year deal in the summer of 2017 for a fee of £23million.
The defender was signed by former boss Antonio Conte and went on to make 22 appearances in his first season, but it was a different matter under Maurizio Sarri.
He played just four times under Sarri during a frustrating 2018/19 campaign and it is clear he does not figure in the plans of new boss Lampard either.
Lampard again looks set to put his faith in youth should anything happen to first-choice right-back Cesar Azpilicueta.
Reece James was highly impressive during a loan spell with Championship outfit Wigan Athletic last season and a number of clubs were keen to take him for the season ahead.
However he will remain at the Bridge to provide back-up to Azpilicueta, and that has allowed Chelsea to move Zappacosta on and get him off the wage bill.