Arsenal give Man Utd a transfer lesson with Calafiori

Robin Bairner
Robin Bairner
  • Updated: 4 Jul 2024 00:51 CDT
  • 4 min read
Riccardo Calafiori, Arsenal

Arsenal’s summer transfer window is set to get underway in earnest when they complete the signing of Riccardo Calafiori from Bologna.

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The centre-back was one of the stars of Euro 2024 in what was an otherwise disappointing Azzurri team, but he had been excelling long before this in Serie A. No doubt he is a player Arsenal have been monitoring for quite some time.

What has been impressive about the Gunners’ work, though, is the ruthless efficiency with which they have completed a deal that will be worth around €59 million (£50m). It is something Manchester United and Sir Jim Ratcliffe to learn from.

EXCLUSIVE: Branthwaite won't push Man Utd deal despite accepting terms

Current ETV
Player image Riccardo Calafiori
Riccardo Calafiori

D (C)

Bologna logo


Riccardo Calafiori
Riccardo Calafiori

D (C)




ETV Range

€12.9M - €21.5M

Swift and efficient

In barely a couple of days, Arsenal have stepped up their interest in the 22-year-old Calafiori, and are “increasingly close” to completing a deal, according to reliable transfer expert Gianluca Di Marzio.

Italy exit from Euro 2024 was their trigger from which to move, but his profile had no doubt been identified as someone the club wanted some weeks before. The European Championship may have been the confirmation of the fact he was the left-sided centre-back they wanted.

While Man Utd have messed about by making lowball bids for the likes of Jarrad Branthwaite that Everton were never going to accept, the Gunners have moved swiftly to capture one of Europe’s most wanted defenders.

Man Utd have been trying to get a deal over the line for Jarrad Branthwaite for weeks
© IMAGO - Man Utd have been trying to get a deal over the line for Jarrad Branthwaite for weeks

They have breezed past Juventus, who had agreed terms with the player but who Bologna never wanted to do business with, and they have sprung faster than the flat-footed Chelsea, who were also linked with the player.

It is the type of efficiency that has long been lacking at Old Trafford but that Ratcliffe must somehow seek to emulate.

Just how Man Utd will become as smooth-functioning as Arsenal are at present is unclear.

Ratcliffe has built a hierarchy with layer upon layer of oversight. Sir Dave Brailsford stands at the top, followed by Jason Wilcox, Dan Ashworth and, finally, manager Erik ten Hag, who reportedly retains a veto on transfer deals.

As for Arsenal? Edu and Arteta work perfectly fine for them.

The pair are a tried and tested combination. Yes, there have been mistakes, but the hits have been far more common than the misses, and the flexibility of having just two men responsible for transfers has allowed Arsenal impressive agility in the market.

Man Utd should look at how their Premier League rivals have deal with Calafiori and use it as a lesson for their own transfer dealings. Arsenal have been brilliant.

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