It’s time to close the book on the Napoli career of Duvan Zapata, as it appears that the Colombian striker is set to leave the club. Reports from Italy on Saturday indicate that Napoli and Torino are close to a deal for Zapata that will be worth up to €20 million, bringing an end to a four-year tenure at the club, half of which was spent on loan with Udinese.
Zapata arrived in Naples in 2013 with great promise, but was never really fully utilized in his two years under Rafa Benitez, who preferred to run Gonzalo Higuain into the ground and never shy away from his sacred 4-2-3-1 formation. Still, on the rare occasions when he did get some run with the side, the big Colombian impressed, scoring 15 goals in 54 all-competitions matches for the partenopei.
The arrival of Maurizio Sarri signaled the beginning of the end for Zapata in Naples, though, as the big man never really seemed to gel into Sarri’s tactics in preseason, and he was quickly sent on a two-year loan to Udinese to get more experience. He impressed there despite some unfortunate injury spells, including a serious hip injury early in his first season, and scored 19 goals in his time with the zebrette. It remained clear that there was no place for Zapata in the Napoli squad, though, with Arek Milik and Dries Mertens holding down the lone striker spot well, to the degree that Napoli are also reportedly considering selling Leonardo Pavoletti just a few short months after signing him.
Udinese likely wanted to keep Zapata, who had become a key part of their squad over the last two years, but they also almost certainly could not afford him. Torino make sense for Zapata for a number of reasons — they’re a good enough club to help push the 26 year old’s development further, and their tactics under Sinisa Mihajlovic are a strong fit for his surprisingly-athletic style up top. He should do well there, and to be perfectly blunt Napoli are doing well to net a nearly €13 million profit on their original purchase of him.
Hopefully this deal progresses without a hitch, because this seems to be a transfer that suits everyone involved well. That’s not a common thing in Serie A these days, so let’s cross our fingers and hope for the best.