Arsenal now ‘close’ to signing after earlier reports Gunners made ‘monstrous’ offer for Chelsea target

Joe Williams
Arsenal Chelsea transfer target Riccardo Calafiori
Italy star Riccardo Calafiori is linked with Arsenal and Chelsea.

Arsenal are now closing in on the signing of Bologna centre-back Riccardo Calafiori, according to Italian journalist Tancredi Palmeri.

The Gunners are looking to sign a new centre-back to provide competition for William Saliba and Gabriel Magalhaes next season and Calafiori appears to have risen to the top of their list.

A report earlier on Wednesday claimed that Arsenal had submitted a ‘monstrous’ offer for Calafiori, who performed well at Euro 2024 for Italy after a successful season at Bologna.

Transfer expert Fabrizio Romano has confirmed that the two interested clubs in Calafiori are Arsenal and Chelsea but it’s the former club that now looks likely to land the defender.

Italian journalist Palmeri insists that Arsenal are now ‘close’ to signing Calafiori from Bologna, he wrote on X: “BOOM! Arsenal close to sign Italy wonderkid centreback Calafiori.”

The announcement comes after Charles Watts – who has covered Arsenal for years – claimed that he didn’t see the Gunners “spending big money on someone like Calafiori” this summer.

Watts wrote in his Caught Offside column: “The current links with Riccardo Calafiori remind me of Arsenal’s interest in Manuel Locatelli a few years ago.

“The club liked Locatelli and had made that known to the player’s representatives, but they were always under the impression that he wanted to join Juventus. So while the interest was there, it never really went any further than that.

“And that’s how I see things with Calafiori right now. Arsenal are interested in him and have expressed that interest. Bologna are aware of it and so is the player. Calafiori is seen as someone who could come in and strengthen Mikel Arteta’s defensive options this summer.

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“But Arsenal know that there is widespread interest in him from other clubs, both in Italy and in the Premier League. So it will not be an easy deal to get done should Bologna agree to let him go.

“It is one to keep an eye on though as the summer progresses and there’s no doubt it would be an exciting signing for the Gunners should they be able to pull it off.

“Calafiori has obviously put himself in a shop window with his performances at the Euros. Several top clubs are looking at him, but the expectation right now is that he would favour a move to Juventus over all other options.

“At the moment there seems to be a bit of animosity between Bologna and Juventus, however, because of Thiago Motta’s decision to move to Turin, so Bologna are looking to make life as difficult as possible for Juventus as they look to lure Calafiori away as well.

“For Bologna, it is of course very beneficial to have Arsenal and Chelsea looking at the player as that could strengthen their hand when it comes to any future negotiations with Juventus.

“Arsenal are looking at possible new arrivals in defence this summer, but they have good options at the back and I don’t really see them spending big money on someone like Calafiori unless they move a player on and right now that doesn’t seem close to happening.

“There is interest from Italian clubs in Jakob Kiwior, but it would take a sizeable bid to sign the Poland international, who impressed last season – especially over the closing months of the campaign.”