EXCLUSIVE: Arsenal open Calafiori talks as Jorginho recommends Euro 2024 star to Arteta

Steve Kay
Steve Kay
  • Updated: 2 Jul 2024 16:42 CDT
  • 4 min read
Riccardo Calafiori, Arsenal

Arsenal have made contact with Bologna over a possible deal for Riccardo Calafiori after Jorginho recommended his Italy teammate to Mikel Arteta.

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FootballTransfers has learned that Calafiori has become a transfer target for the Gunners during this summer transfer window.

Arsenal’s Italian midfielder Jorginho personally recommended Calafiori to Arteta, informing the Gunners boss that he should seriously consider signing the Bologna defender.

READ MORE: Euro 2024 most assists

Jorginho acted as a mentor to Calafiori throughout Euro 2024, with the Bologna centre back enjoying a brilliant group stage.

The 22-year-old was Italy’s best outfield player at the tournament, setting up Mattia Zaccagni’s dramatic 98th minute equaliser against Croatia with a brilliant solo run.

He was sorely missed through suspension on Saturday as Italy lost 2-0 to Switzerland in Berlin in the last-16 to exit the Euros.

Arteta has been impressed with what he has seen from Calafiori, and Arsenal have made contact with Bologna about the defender.

We understand that Bologna want €50 million for Calafiori, while Arsenal value the centre back, who can also play at left back, at €35m.

Arsenal have discussed the player's situation with Bologna, but the Italians are not interested in selling at that amount.

Calafiori shone at Bologna last season
© IMAGO - Calafiori shone at Bologna last season

There is heavy interest in Calafiori as Juventus, Chelsea, Real Madrid, Tottenham and Bayer Leverkusen are also fans of the player.

Juventus had been favourites for the defender and were in talks to sign Calafiori for several weeks before Euro 2024 began.

The defender had already reportedly agreed on personal terms with Juventus but Calafiori’s brilliant Euro 2024 saw his transfer value rise sharply to a price that the Bianconeri may now struggle to afford.

Arsenal’s chances of signing Calafiori have been boosted by the comments of Bologna transfer chief Giovanni Sartori, who said that the player was more likely to move abroad if he leaves the club.

READ MORE: Premier League summer transfers 2024: All the Done Deals

Calafiori enjoyed a brilliant Euro 2024
© IMAGO - Calafiori enjoyed a brilliant Euro 2024

What did Sartori say?

“We only signed Calafiori 12 months ago, so we’ll see what happens, but in our minds we want to keep him,” Sartori said.

“There has been talk of Juventus, but also many other clubs. If we were to receive big offers, we’d have to think about it.

“I don’t think he will go to Juventus, it will probably be abroad, but I repeat we will try to keep him.”

Calafiori’s former club Basel will reportedly receive a 40-50% sell-on amount when the defender is sold.

Calafiori was one of the breakout stars of the Serie A season in 2023-24, playing a key role in Bologna’s shock qualification for the Champions League.

A modern centre back, Calafiori has displayed all the qualities and attributes of a potentially top-class defender.

The 22-year-old presses and reads the game excellently. His use of the ball is superb and he is renowned for bringing the ball out of defence and joining in the construction of the play in midfield and beyond. He is aggressive and excellent in the air.

Calafiori was converted from a left back to a centre back by now former Bologna manager Thiago Motta - now the new Juventus boss.

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