Roma’s right back position has long been a hot topic of discussion on CdT and many other outlets. Just yesterday, Jimmy published an article contemplating if Elseid Hysaj could be brought in. A few days earlier, bren contemplated if Roma could resuscitate Davide Zappacosta’s career. Meanwhile, on Twitter you can see plenty of complaints about Alessandro Florenzi starting at right back. Those gripes have been followed by a #FreeFlorezi, in hopes that he can play in his more natural advanced role.
Well, it looks like Gianluca Petrachi and Paulo Fonseca must’ve had similar concerns about the position. It’s being reported by many outlets, including Gazzetta dello Sport, that it’ll be Zappacosta arriving in Rome. The deal will be a year long dry loan with no option or obligation to buy.
The Italian will arrive from Chelsea in the coming hours with a view on completing his medical tomorrow. This move is a reunion of sorts for the defender and Roma’s DS. It was Petrachi who brought Zappacosta to Torino from Atalanta for €4.3 million in 2015 before offloading him to Chelsea two years later for €25 million.
To make room for Zappacosta, Roma will ship out Davide Santon. Santon spent just one season in Roma, which had some solid early performances overshadowed by some poor ones later in the season. Santon looks to be heading to La Liga side Mallorca. Mallorca has beaten out competition from SPAL and Real Sociedad for Santon. The move will be a loan with option to buy, according to Gianluca Di Marzio.
With the move Roma has brought in an experienced, quality right back, who will compete with Florenzi for starts. It also allows Florenzi to return to more of a utility role, where his positional flexibility can be better utilized. This means it wouldn’t be surprising to see the captain split time between right back and right wing. Florenzi could spell Cengiz Ünder in attack, leaving Diego Perotti and Justin Kluivert on the left. Mirko Antonucci could end up in the mix as well.
Zappacosta like Florenzi can push the right flank when in possession, something that Fonseca needs from his full backs. However, he is a much better crosser of the ball than Florenzi. Like Florenzi, he has some defensive flaws, but should add more defensive stability being that he is a natural defender. At 6 feet tall, Zappacosta also adds more size to back line, considering Florenzi is around 5’7”.
This looks to be a low-risk, high-reward type move from Petrchi in many ways. Zappacosta is still in his prime years at 27, and there’s no obligation to keep the player if he doesn’t perform. A fresh start and an eye on a Euro 2020 roster spot should be extra motivation for Zappacosta, as well. More shrew business from Roma’s new DS, as he builds a roster suited to Fonseca’s tactics.