’New Alexis’ stars in Udinese friendly win


The young Colombian follows present Arsenal star Alexis Sanchez in impressing for the Italian side at a young age.

Plenty of top talent have established themselves as top quality footballers while at Udinese. Arugbaly chief among them are Chile and Arsenal footballer Alexis Sanchez, who first signed for the Bianconeri in 2006.

And now another young South American footballer has caught the eye at Udinese, and what's more, he is another skilful winger bearing the "Alexis" name.

Alexis Zapata scored twice in a friendly victory over Slovenian side Celje, along with Giampiero Pinzi, Antonio Di Natale and Alex Geijo also netting in the international break.

Zapata is yet to make his first appearance for Udinese, and was on loan at Sassuolo for the second half of last season. He has however been on the bench twice already this season, and is likely to taste top level football in the near future.

Sanchez didn't make a real impression in Italy until 2008, two years after originally signing, when after successful loan spells in South America he turned out 43 times for Udinese in an impressive attacking season.

The Chilean spent two more seasons in Italy before a big money move to Barcelona, where he improved even more and headed to the Emirates this summer as one of the top forwards around.

Udinese have brought many top South Americans and Africans to European football over the years, with Sanchez and fellow Premier League newcomer Mauricio Isla representing Chile, while former Chile international David Pizarro, Colombian duo Juan Cuadrado and Cristian Zapata, as well as a whole clutch of Ghanian stars, have all made their mark at the Stadio Friuli. Many of these international stars have ended up, or been heavily linked to joining up with English clubs.

If 19-year-old Zapata can bring his impressive friendly form into the Serie A season, there is no reason why he couldn't be the second Alexis to go from South America to the Premier League, via Udine.

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