Davide Zappacosta joined AS Roma on a half-season loan last summer with the understanding that if Reece James proved to be as good as we were all hoping, the older right back would not only get to stay in the Italian capital for the entire season, but would also get to stay there for good.
The first part of that understanding has been fulfilled. Zappacosta’s loan was extended for a full season once Reece James recovered form his ankle surgery and proved to be the real deal at the Premier League and Champions League level. And that loan was extended even though Zappacosta had featured only for 12 minutes for Roma before tearing his ACL just a few weeks after his arrival.
Just when Zappacosta looked set to return, the COVID-19 pandemic hit, which was both a blessing (more time to recover) and a curse (more time apart from the team). But once the Serie A resumed in late June, Zappacosta was indeed ready to go, and he’s played in 6 of the 9 matches since, starting twice.
So, it’s all good, right?
Well, apparently not.
According to yesterday’s Gazzetta dello Sport (via Football Italia), AS Roma do not want to keep Zappacosta anymore, despite earlier reports of a probable loan extension for next season (in part as a do-over for a lost season). Part of the reason for the change of heart is apparently the (re-)emergence of Bruno Peres, who’s a bit older but seemingly well ahead of the loanee in the pecking order.
While it doesn’t really make sense for Roma to send Zappacosta away — he’s good enough, cheap enough, he loves it there, and Chelsea would surely agree to another loan — they’ve recently had a major upheaval in their recruiting department, so perhaps a change of direction is underway. (Though that apparently does still include Pedro joining them on a free after the season’s done.)
Zappacosta has two years left on his Chelsea contract, and it’s unlikely that we’d have room for him in the squad for next season, so he might want to start looking for some other options...