Arteta ‘needs to convince’ Arsenal board to green light £42m deal as ‘significant obstacles’ emerge

Joe Williams
Riccardo Calafiori could sign for Arsenal
Riccardo Calafiori could sign for Arsenal this month

Mikel Arteta ‘may need to convince others’ at Arsenal to green light a deal for Bologna centre-back Riccardo Calafiori this summer, according to reports.

The Gunners are looking to bring in a new centre-back over the summer transfer market with Arteta looking to provide William Saliba and Gabriel Magalhaes with top competition.

Arsenal performed brilliantly last season as they pushed Manchester City all the way in the Premier League title race, only to be beaten by two points on the final day of the campaign.

And now Arteta and Edu are looking for players who can make that little difference over the season to give them the edge in the title race next term, while also competing for other trophies.

Recent reports have claimed that their top target to improve their defence is Calafiori – who has impressed at Euro 2024 for Italy – after helping Bologna to qualify for the Champions League last term.

It is claimed that Arsenal have made a bid of ‘more than €50m’ for his services and that the Gunners hope to close the operation over the next couple of days.

However, The Athletic‘s David Ornstein claims it isn’t as simple as that with Arteta potentially having to ‘convince others’ at Arsenal that the deal is right for the Premier League runners-up.

Ornstein wrote:

‘Arteta is a big fan of Calafiori and the Bologna player is the club’s primary defensive target as they look to strengthen what was already the Premier League’s meanest back line last season.

“The 22-year-old is left-footed and can play at left-back or centre-back and can operate as an inverted full-back — a position Arteta has embraced in his formation in recent seasons.

‘With Italy now out of the Euros and Arteta and some of the players back from their summer holidays, the manager will hope to press ahead with the signing, though he may need to convince others within the club that the deal represents good business.

‘It is likely a player will need to be sold, but it is unclear whether this would be before or after the potential acquisition of Calafiori. Jakub Kiwior and Oleksandr Zinchenko are the most obvious candidates, with the former looking more plausible at present because — despite his popularity at Arsenal — the Poland international appears to be generating more interest, particularly from Italy.’

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The Athletic added in their Transfer DealSheet that Arsenal still have ‘significant obstacles’ to overcome:

‘The Italy international would like to move to the Premier League and is keen to join Arsenal if a deal can be agreed. There are, however, significant obstacles to be overcome: his price is inflated by a good European Championship and a sizeable sell-on fee would be due to his former club Basel.

‘There is also the issue of Calafiori’s history of serious knee problems. It remains to be seen whether Arteta’s belief in the player will overcome any possible fitness concerns.’