Ferrero revealed during negotiations with Napoli for the striker, Azzurri president Aurelio de Laurentiis demanded a deal for Patrik Schick.
"Great players are always good. On Zapata I worked ten days, I broke the will of Aurelio, who is a tough one," said the Samp supremo.
"He offered him to me in June but we didn't want him. He wanted Schick, but he couldn't have him.
"He is an emperor, he wants to have everything done for him."
Schick was eventually sold by Ferrero to AS Roma.