International Soccer

Arsenal and Chelsea ‘internally discuss’ signing Italy Euro 2024 star

Arsenal and Chelsea ‘internally discuss’ signing of Italy Euro 2024 star

Arsenal and Chelsea are keeping a close eye on the future of Bologna and Italy centre-back Riccardo Calafiori, according to reports.

The emerging defender was only 21 for virtually all of the 2023/24 season but helped Bologna unexpectedly finish fifth in Serie A to qualify for the Champions League.

Calafiori was then installed as a starter for Italy at Euro 2024 and, despite scoring an own goal in a narrow group stage defeat to Spain, he generally impressed. It was perhaps also telling that he was suspended for the last 16 loss to Switzerland that sent the reigning champions home quite early.

Fabrizio Romano reports that Calafiori has been “discussed internally” by both Arsenal and Chelsea, having also been a Juventus target as early as February.

Bologna don’t anticipate selling to a domestic rival though, having only finished three points behind Juventus in the final standings last season. Technical director Giovanni Sartori has stated that the club would ideally “like to keep Calafiori” but appears open to selling abroad if he is to go anywhere.

“I think he will not end up joining Juventus. Probably he can go abroad, in case we decide to sell him,” the Bologna official is quoted as saying on the subject.

Riccardo Calafiori holding a model Champions League trophy

Calafiori helped Bologna qualify for the Champions League / Alessandro Sabattini/GettyImages

That invites Premier League clubs to submit offers for Calafiori, with Arsenal and Chelsea now described as being “attentive to the situation”. However, beyond initial interest, it has not yet reached the more concrete stage of negotiations or proposals.

West Ham United have also been linked with Calafiori, amid attempts to strengthen the backline of new head coach Julen Lopetegui, but their primary focus appears to be on reuniting with the Spaniard with Wolverhampton Wanderers captain Max Kilman. Tottenham Hotspur are also understood to have an interest.

In terms of the best fit for Calafiori, Chelsea are the club perhaps most in need of a left-footed defender. Last year’s Premier League runners-up have Gabriel Magalhaes at the heart of their defence alongside William Saliba and have Jakub Kiwior for cover. The Blues, meanwhile, have Levi Colwill to call upon, but he is yet to establish himself as a first-team regular at Stamford Bridge.

Calafiori spent the first half of 2022/23 with former club Basel operating as a left-back, highlighting his versatility, before switching to the middle. He continued centrally upon joining Bologna but occasionally still filled in out wide.

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