Arsenal in discussions with Bologna having agreed personal terms with Riccardo Calafiori

As per Fabrizio Romano, Arsenal have agreed personal terms with Riccardo Calafiori of Bologna, with the player willing to sign onto a deal until June 2029 at the Emirates Stadium.

Though, this is dependent on a deal being agreed between the two sides, who are currently holding talks over the fee. It is understood that Bologna are requesting around €50m for the defender, partly due to his former side Basel attaining a 50% release clause from when they sold Calafiori to the Italians for €4.5m last summer, as well as interest from other top European clubs such as Chelsea and Juventus.

Having predominantly played as a left wing-back and left-back at Roma and Basel respectively, Calafiori thrived in a unique centre-back role as part of Thiago Motta’s high-pressing and fluid Bologna side.

Strong, quick, and physical in duels, the 21-year-old’s skillset would allow him to seamlessly transition into Mikel Arteta’s side, both in and out-of-possession. He’s great at being proactive and staying tight to attackers, or holding a high line and defending 1v1’s in the channels, whilst his 71.4% aerial win rate is better than 95% of Europe’s defenders, including William Saliba and Gabriel Magalhães, as per Fbref.

It’s on-the-ball where Calafiori most stands out though. Left-footed and a comfortable, yet not majorly progressive, passer the Italian international possesses an incredible ability to effortlessly round his man and powerfully carry the ball through opposition pressure, as he showed on with his two goals and five assists from central defence last season, as Motta afforded him the freedom to drift into midfield and forward areas.

Calafiori gave a glimpse of this in Italy’s Euro 2024 group stages- driving past multiple Croatian players in the centre of the field before perfectly setting up left-winger Mattia Zaccagni to notch a vital last-minute equalizer for The Azzurri.

Whilst he was suspended for the round of 16 tie against Switzerland, that performance, and those for first-time Champions League qualifiers Bologna throughout last season- have been enough to convince Arsenal to make a move for Calafiori, as the back-to-back Premier League runners-up they look to bolster their side ahead of another title push next year.

Travis Levison | Get Football

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