Duvan Zapata to Newcastle United: The Colombian has already been told of his next move by Tino Asprilla
Newcastle United have been heavily linked with a move for Atalanta star Duvan Zapata.
Newcastle United are reportedly close to increasing their bid for Atalanta’s Colombia international striker Duvan Zapata.
According to reports in Italy, the Magpies had an initial loan offer with a ‘conditional purchase obligation’ rejected by the Serie A club – but are ready to increase their offer in order to add the leader to their squad.
Calcio Mercato have announced United will offer an initial loan fee of around £4.2m and Atalanta want a permanent deal worth around £33m to follow at the end of the season.
NewcastleWorld takes a look at a player who made a name for himself as a prolific striker for nearly a decade in Serie A.
The initial promise arouses the interest of the English
After first impressing in Colombia’s Primera A with America de Cali, Zapata was loaned out to Argentina’s Estudiantes in July 2011.
The striker continued his moment by scoring 19 goals in 44 appearances for the La Plata-based club and began to attract the attention of a number of clubs in Europe.
West Ham United were the first to move for Zapata in July 2013 after agreeing a fee with Zapata and his club.
However, then-Hammers manager Sam Allardyce was disappointed after work permit issues derailed the move.
Co-chairman David Sullivan explained: “He hasn’t played any international matches and our problem is we couldn’t wait a month so let’s see if we can get a work permit because we need players now.
“He’s not 18, he’s 22 without a single full international and it’s hard to see how you could subject him to the special talent rule.
“There are two fantastic players ahead of him. But it all went on too long and Sam [Allardyce] wanted to use the money elsewhere.
Zapata would soon be on the move.
A link to a former Newcastle United manager
Rafa Benitez succeeded where another former Newcastle manager couldn’t, as the Spaniard took advantage of Zapata’s failed transfer to West Ham by taking the striker to Serie A club Napoli.
After joining I Partenopei, Zapata told the club’s website: “I immediately felt the emotion of San Paolo and the great passion of the fans.
“I thank the club for this opportunity, for me playing for Napoli is a great joy.”
Despite his initial optimism, Zapata found regular playing time hard to come by – but still finished his first season in Italy with seven goals in 22 games.
More frustration followed in his second year at Napoli, with the striker managing just eight goals in 31 appearances in all competitions.
A two-year loan spell with Udinese and a one-year temporary move to Sampdoria allowed him to further acclimatize to Serie A and led to a permanent move to the latter in August 2017.
Find a home in Atalanta and face Ronaldo
After scoring 11 goals in 32 appearances for Sampdoria, Zapata agreed a two-season loan deal with Atalanta, with an obligation to make the move permanent when the initial deal ended.
The striker enjoyed a remarkable debut season at Bergamo plundering his way to 28 goals in 48 goals in all competitions.
Highlights included a brace in a 2-2 draw against eventual champions Juventus and a four-goal outburst in a 5-0 win over struggling Frosinone.
Such was his impact, Zapata finished his first season as Serie A’s co-top scorer, with only Cristiano Ronaldo and Fabio Quagiarella.
This form has led to a rumor of interest from Inter, with Zapata’s agent Fernando Villarreal telling Gazetta dello Sport: “Are Inter interested? It’s a very big club, between Italy and the biggest in the world.
“But these are just rumors, I can categorically deny that there is an agreement for a transfer to Milan at the end of the season.
“In football, you never say never. If there are any opportunities for the club and the player tomorrow, we could talk about it, but right now Duvan’s world is only called Atalanta and he wants to give his best for those colours.
Make Champions League history
Zapata’s goals had helped Atalanta qualify for the Champions League for the first time in their history and he would make his mark in Europe’s elite club competition.
The striker scored his club’s first-ever Champions League goal in a 2-1 home loss to Shakthar Donetsk in October 2019 – but injury kept him out of the rest of the Champions League stages. groups.
He came back in a thrilling last-16 draw against Valencia as his side secured a place in the quarter-finals with a 7-5 aggregate victory – but hopes of further progress were dashed by a 2-1 defeat against Paris Saint Germain.
Once again, Zapata shone in Serie A with 18 goals in 28 games to help his side qualify for the Champions League again with a third place finish.
By the end of the 2019/20 season when his loan spell ended, the Colombian had scored 47 goals in 81 appearances.
The move was made permanent as Atalanta secured the striker’s future by handing over a fee of around £11m to add to the £12.6m loan fee they had paid the Sampdoria two years earlier.
After the permanent move was completed, Zapata said, “I’m very happy.
“First of all, I would like to thank Atalanta for this new proof of confidence in me.
“We are building something big and can achieve great things together.”
Former Newcastle favorite urges Zapata to look elsewhere
Zapata became the first Colombian player to reach a century of Serie A goals in October last year when he scored in a 4-1 win at Empoli.
But a compatriot who has become a cult figure in Italy and Newcastle has urged the striker to look elsewhere in a bid to find success on the pitch.
Speaking ahead of Zapata’s permanent move to Atalanta, former Magpies striker Faustino Asprilla told Gazzetta dello Sport: “It’s time for you to go to a bigger team if you want to win more titles. enjoying the great football time that it is life.
“Until a few years ago I would have found it hard to believe, so it definitely blew up.
“And honestly, I was surprised.
“He is 29 years old, he is in the best period of his career.
“With all due respect, I don’t think Atalanta can go beyond third place: if they wanted to win something, they should at least consider changing teams.”
As things stand, Zapata has an impressive record of 78 goals in 152 games in all competitions for Atalanta – including 12 goals in 22 appearances in the current season.
Whether he will have the chance to extend that record or follow the move to Tyneside Tino made almost 27 years ago remains to be seen.