Arsenal ‘contact’ Chelsea target after Arteta is ‘personally recommended’ signing by Gunners star

Lewis Oldham
Arsenal interest in Italy star
Riccardo Calafiori in action for Italy.

According to reports, Arsenal have joined Chelsea in the race to sign Italy international Riccardo Calafiori from Serie A outfit Bologna.

The Gunners are expected to be busy during this summer’s transfer window after they narrowly missed out on the Premier League title on the final day of the 2023/24 campaign.

Among Arsenal’s priorities will be to sign a new striker, winger and centre-midfielder. But if reports are to be believed, they could also recruit a centre-back.

William Saliba and Gabriel Magalhaes are firmly placed as Arsenal’s first-choice centre-backs, but head coach Mikel Arteta could look to sign a player to provide competition.

22-year-old Calafiori has emerged as a potential target after impressing for Bologna during the 2023/24 campaign and for Italy at Euro 2024.

The five-cap Italy international – who is also capable of playing at left-back – made over 30 appearances for Bologna as they surpassed expectations to finish fifth in Seria A.

Calafiori’s form has not gone unnoticed as he was recently linked with a move to Chelsea. Journalist Alfredo Pedulla claimed the Blues have already ‘offered’ the defender ‘important salary’ to fend off interest from rivals.

However, Arsenal now appear to be setting up their interest in the versatile defender. Football Transfers are reporting that the Gunners ‘have made contact with Bologna over a possible deal for Calafiori after Jorginho recommended his Italy teammate to Arteta’.

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Regarding Bologna’s asking price and the potential competition, the report explains.

‘Arsenal’s Italian midfielder Jorginho personally recommended Calafiori to Arteta, informing the Gunners boss that he should seriously consider signing the Bologna defender.

‘Jorginho acted as a mentor to Calafiori throughout Euro 2024, with the Bologna centre back enjoying a brilliant group stage.

‘Arteta has been impressed with what he has seen from Calafiori, and Arsenal have made contact with Bologna about the defender.

‘We understand that Bologna want €50 million for Calafiori, while Arsenal value the centre back, who can also play at left back, at €35m.

‘Arsenal have discussed the player’s situation with Bologna, but the Italians are not interested in selling at that amount.

‘There is heavy interest in Calafiori as Juventus, Chelsea, Real Madrid, Tottenham and Bayer Leverkusen are also fans of the player.’

Bologna chief Giovanni Sartori recently claimed Calafiori is more likely to sign for a club outside of Serie A than Turin giants Juventus.

“We only signed Calafiori 12 months ago, so we’ll see what happens, but in our minds we want to keep him,” Sartori said.

“There has been talk of Juventus, but also many other clubs. If we were to receive big offers, we’d have to think about it.

“I don’t think he will go to Juventus, it will probably be abroad, but I repeat we will try to keep him.”

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