Chelsea have made an unusually slow start to their summer transfer business by their usual high-spending standards, with the ongoing uncertainties over the managerial situation at Stamford Bridge still looming large on the agenda.
Antonio Conte has led his side out for pre-season training over the last week, despite continued speculation that he will be replaced by Maurizio Sarri ahead of next season.
It seems to have cost them a potential signing in the form of Duvan Zapata, who had reportedly been offered to Chelsea by the Colombian's employers Sampdoria. The forward has, however, now completed a move to Italian side Atalanta instead, according to Fabrizio Romano.
According to the Daily Mail, Chelsea had been offered the chance to sign experienced forward Zapata from Sampdoria. The Serie A outfit took up an option to sign the striker on a permanent basis for £15.3m, following the Colombian’s loan switch from Napoli last season.
However, the Italian side were willing to listen to offers for the 27-year-old, having also recently sold Lucas Torreira to Arsenal, and seemed to present Chelsea with a prime opportunity to reinforce their faltering striking ranks ahead of next season.
Alvaro Morata arrived at Stamford Bridge in a club-record move from Real Madrid last summer to replace the departing Diego Costa, but failed to hit anything close to the level which had made his compatriot predecessor such a hit in west London.
Olivier Giroud was then recruited from London rivals Arsenal in January to help share the goal-scoring burden, but there remains an ongoing sense that Chelsea are still without an outstanding focal point to lead their attack next season.
Zapata boasts a reputation of finding the back of the net consistently at the host of clubs which he has represented in recent times. The Colombian attacker hit 11 goals in 31 Serie A appearances for Sampdoria last term and may have provided a commanding presence to lead Chelsea’s currently unconvincing attack.
However, the opportunity has now come to pass, and Zapata will remain in Serie A next season, instead plying his trade with new club Atalanta.
It seems that clarity is required over who will take the managerial reins of Chelsea for the upcoming campaign before any other business can move forward in what will surely be a new direction at the Bridge.