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Mercato Madness: Zapata for Darmian swap in the works?

There's an insane rumor circling that's tough to digest that involves Napoli sending Duvan Zapata to Torino to acquire Matteo Darmian.

Valerio Pennicino/Getty Images

Sometimes transfer rumors are truly bizarre, and this is no exception. Turin-based newspaper Tuttosport is reporting in their Monday paper about a rumored offer from Napoli to Torino that.... well, it takes some wrapping your head around.

The rumor involves Napoli getting Matteo Darmian from Torino, which seems sensible at first. Napoli need another defender or two even with Strinic arriving, and Darmian makes sense, especially with his quality on the right to maybe eventually replace Christian Maggio. His versatility to play on the left would be nice too, especially when coming off the bench.

This is where it gets weird, though: in addition to cash (which Tuttosport believes is about €2-3 million), Napoli would sell Torino Omar El Kaddouri on a permanent basis... as well as Duvan Zapata.

Torino were heavily rumored to be interested in acquiring Zapata over the summer when it was less clear that the Colombian had a future at Napoli, but his recent performances should make the club all the more determined to hold on to him. Zapata is good, and has tremendous potential. Using him as makeweight in a swap deal just seems... shortsighted, at best. Darmian is a good fullback, but he's not more-valuable-than-a-quality-striker good, and that's the trajectory Zapata seems to be on.

Giving El Kaddouri to Torino makes a fair bit of sense; it's never been especially clear what the Morocco international's future is in Naples, and he's done well with Torino for the last eighteen months. A cash-plus-Omar deal to get Darmian is something that few Napoli fans could argue with, but adding Zapata to the pot seems to tilt the balance heavily in to Torino's favor. Darmian is a good fullback, make no mistake, and it makes all kinds of sense for him to be a transfer target for Napoli, but this rumored offer is simply paying far too much for him.

Hopefully this rumor is just paper talk and turns in to nothing, like so many others do. That said, there's a grain of irritating plausibility here that's tough to shake, so we'll be keeping an eye on this one for you.