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Tuesday, July 16, 2024

Arteta faces Arsenal struggle to complete Calafiori transfer

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Mikel Arteta is pushing hard to sign Riccardo Calafiori for Arsenal in the summer transfer window.

The Gunners have been heavily linked with the Bologna centre-back and are widely considered the favourites to nab him over numerous other clubs.

Interest in the 22-year-old grew over the past month following his impressive performances for Italy in the group stage of Euro 2024.

Arteta has long been a fan of Calafiori and it is thought the Arsenal manager would deploy him as an inverted full-back in his lineup.

Read – Arsenal only club in talks to sign Calafiori

However, it has now emerged that the Basque coach’s admiration of the versatile defender may not be shared by everyone at the club.

The Athletic report that Arteta “may need to convince others within the club that the deal represents good business”.

Bologna are said to be looking for around €50 million (£42.5m) for Calafiori, which would be a hefty fee to invest when the north London outfit already boast the best defence in the Premier League. They conceded the fewest goals (29) of any team last season.

The arrival of Calafiori could also see one of their left-sided defenders leave Arsenal, namely Jakub Kiwior or Oleksandr Zinchenko.

Who is Riccardo Calafiori, the player Arteta wants to sign for Arsenal?

Riccardo Calafiori is a left-footed defender who can play as a centre-back on either the left or right, as well as left-back or left wingback.

The Italy international came through the academy at AS Roma, for whom he made 18 senior appearances in all competitions before joining Swiss outfit FC Basel in 2022.

The following year Calafiori returned to Serie A and joined Bologna, where head coach Thiago Motta moved him to the centre of defence. He excelled in the role, helping the club qualify for the Uefa Champions League for the first time since 1964/65. He made 30 league appearances, scoring twice and providing two assists.

Calafiori has five caps for the Italian national team, three of which came in the group stage of Euro 2024. He missed out on their knockout clash with Switzerland after being handed a one-match suspension for picking up two bookings.

Read – Five players who could join Arsenal this summer

See Also – The most expensive Premier League transfers so far in summer 2024

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