As Inter Milan continue their attempt to build a strong squad for next season, they now reportedly have a Chelsea target in their plans.
As reported by Premium Sport (via Tutto Mercato Web), the Italian side have put Davide Zappacosta on top of their wish list.
Club director Piero Ausilio is said to be in charge of the business, but despite saying he’s ‘attentive’ to the player’s situation, the outlet doesn’t make it clear how advanced things are.
The problem for Inter is that Chelsea are said to be demanding €30m for the player, an amount which the Italian side consider to be ‘excessive’.
Davide Zappacosta was signed by Chelsea from Torino last summer in a €25m deal. The right-back even had some games as a starter at the beginning of the season, but ended up being a rotation player for Antonio Conte.
He’s made 35 appearances for the club so far.
Conte in charge, Sarri in limbo and Abramovich’s exile – Chelsea set for a frustrating summer
This always seemed like it was going to be one of Chelsea’s most important summers in their recent history under Roman Abramovich and at the moment they appear more under-prepared for the 2018/19 campaign than ever.
Chelsea fans are starting to get quite frustrated about things going on off the pitch and the apparent lack of investment at present on it, while things have been very quiet on all fronts at the moment.
Antonio Conte is still the head coach, while the apparent replacing of the Italian with fellow countryman Maurizio Sarri has continued to drag on with no conclusion as we creep into July without the issues having been resolved.
Pre-season gets under way next week for the Blues and there are still a mountain of problems that are building up, as football.london takes you through the real issues going on.
Conte in no man’s land
Chelsea fans are probably split over whether or not they feel sorry for Antonio Conte at the moment when it comes to his position at the club.
On the one hand we are talking about a manager that, against a lot of odds, guided Chelsea to the Premier League title in just his first season in England.
He then followed that up with clinching the FA Cup the next year, which should make you something of a hero at any club. However, public opinion somewhat changed towards him and his style of play that was heavily criticised.
A poor Premier League title defence mixed in with some questionable tactics and often gripes at the Blues board meant that several supporters were losing their patience with the Italian.
If Conte had lost that FA Cup final to Manchester United then there isn’t much doubt he would have been giving his marching orders straight away, however he clinched the crown and things got a little bit complicated.
Conte had one year left on his current deal at the Blues, and why would you walk away from a situation when you are owed £9m? All the top jobs around Europe have been snapped up already, so Conte’s position is clearly that he would have to be sacked.
“After two years, the club knows me very well,” said the Italian after the FA Cup win. “In every press conference, I always say I’m committed to this club, to respect my contract.
“Our job is not simple. I understand the club can make a decision – a positive decision, a negative decision. We’ll make the best decision. I’m the first to accept every decision for the future.”
Whether you feel that Conte is holding the club to ransom, the Italian is certainly a man in limbo at the moment, but at present he would be the one taking pre-season training.
No new manager
With the confusion over Conte’s future, there is even more confusion over what is going on with Maurizio Sarri and his chances of taking over the role.
It seems to be the worst kept secret in football at the moment that the Italian is the front-runner to take over the position at the club but complications continue to arise.
Sarri is not the manager of Napoli, having already been replaced by Carlo Ancelotti, but with a contract that was supposed to be running out in 2020, there president Aurelio De Laurentiis believes some compensation is owed to them should Chelsea look to sign him.
That is around £4.5m, which the Blues are yet to pay, while some rumours from Italy suggesting that Sarri has paid out his contract with the Serie A side seem to be premature.
At the moment there is no clear direction of where the club is going in the sense of playing style, transfer targets and who will actually be taking the pre-season training sessions when it gets under way on Monday.
Names like Laurent Blanc, Zinedine Zidane and Leonardo Jardim have fallen off the radar, but it is really getting down to crunch time to the situation being resolved.
No director of football in place
Another big hole at Chelsea at the moment is the lack of a director of football. The position has never been filled since the resignation of Michael Emenalo who decided to leave the club and take up a similar role at Monaco.
Emenalo’s tenure at the club had some mixed reactions from Chelsea fans, with several believing he was at fault for a lack of transfers last summer, but also there was a misunderstanding of his role within the set up.
The former Nigeria international took Conte’s wishes to the board, but then it was up to them to get the deals over the line and decide in the end which players would eventually be signed.
Emenalo’s resignation left a huge chasm and also a trusted advisor for both Conte and Roman Abramovich, but also a man who had been at the club in some capacity for ten years and knew the direction that the club wanted to go down.
However, in footballing terms there isn’t a lot of that left in their roles, with Scott McLachlan, the head of international scouting, looking to guide things at present.
But the technical director position, in the structure that Chelsea have, is a vital role that has to be filled, and has to be filled quickly.
There are just over six weeks left until the transfer window slams shut this summer with the timing for English clubs to get deals over the line earlier than before.
Instead of the end of August, teams in the Premier League have to complete any signings the Thursday before the season starts, August 9, otherwise they will have to stick with the players that they have got until January.
Some clubs have gone early. Liverpool added Monaco’s Fabinho to their books, adding to the signing of Naby Keita that they sealed last year, while Manchester United have added Fred to their ranks.
Arsenal have added a defender plus goalkeeper Bernd Leno from Bayer Leverkusen, while at the moment it has all been a little quiet on the Blues’ front.
Of course several players have already been linked with a move to Stamford Bridge, but without a great amount of substance at the moment.
The latest, and probably closest, is that of Daniele Rugani, a centre-back who, according to reports in Italy, might join the club for £35m.
If the recent transfer windows are anything to go by this isn’t out the norm for the Blues, who have preferred to do their transfer business late, but in a summer of confusion it all seems to be getting a little tense.
Having the World Cup doesn’t help, obviously, with the Blues needing to sort out the contracts of Eden Hazard and Thibaut Courtois as well, but they are not likely going to be sorted until Belgium are out of the competition.
Roman Abramovich’s exile
The worrying state over Roman Abramovich’s future is up there with the most important.
It has been a disconcerting month for Blues fans looking in the window from the outside as many would consider the actions of the club’s owner as a sign that his interest in Chelsea is wavering.
Firstly, there was the announcement that the redevelopment of Stamford Bridge is going to be put on hold due to a lack of investment, a project that was complicated and expensive from the start and got more difficult as it progressed.
From having to build over a railway line, to finding a temporary home for the next four years, everything just seemed to close in at once and now the future of the redevelopment is massively in the balance.
Then there is the issue over his UK visa, which had been rejected, and while he could enter the country on an Israeli passport, the chances that Abramovich would do that with the Russia/UK dispute at the moment is slim.
If the Russian oligarch was to spend so much time away from the club then it could look and become a worrying prospect that the money he has invested so freely over the years would then be taken away.
At the moment that doesn’t seem to be the case, but it adds to the club being completely torn in a key summer, maybe the most important since he took over in 2003.