Arsenal target ‘packs his bags’ with £47m transfer ‘imminent’ as Chelsea miss out

Jason Soutar
Riccardo Calafiori could sign for Arsenal
Riccardo Calafiori could sign for Arsenal this month

Arsenal are set to beat Chelsea to the signing of Bologna defender Riccardo Calafiori, who has ‘packed his bags’ ahead of a switch to north London, according to reports.

Calafiori came through the AS Roma youth academy but could not break into their first team, joining Swiss side FC Basel for €2.6million in August 2022.

After one year in Switzerland, the 22-year-old returned to Italy, joining Bologna for €4m.

What a signing he has been for the Rossoblu. Calafiori played 30 times in Serie A last term to help the Italian club qualify for the Champions League for the first time.

Playing for Bologna in Europe’s premier competition appears to be unlikely, with several clubs interested in signing the young defender.

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Leading the race are Arsenal, though Chelsea are also very keen, as per Fabrizio Romano.

Romano has also claimed that Calafiori reached a salary agreement with Juventus but a transfer fell through, with Bologna ‘furious’ with their league rivals after they took highly-rated head coach Thiago Motta from them.

Bologna are believed to want at least €50m for Calafiori, who impressed at Euro 2024 for Italy before their last-16 elimination at the hands of Switzerland.

Arsenal closing in on £46.6m signing of Italy star

His performances in Germany have put him on the radar of several clubs but reports from Italy claim that Arsenal are expected to complete the signing.

It is claimed that Calafiori’s bags are already packed with a transfer to the Emirates ‘imminent’.

The Gunners have reportedly agreed to pay Bologna €55m (£46.6m) for the player, who joins a very strong defence assembled by Mikel Arteta.

Arsenal have moved faster than Chelsea and Romano previously claimed Calafiori has already given the north Londoners the ‘green light’ to sign him.

Calafiori is naturally a left-footed centre-back but can play on the left of a back four, making him a very desirable player for Arteta.

He will likely compete with Gabriel Magalhaes for a spot next to William Saliba but also with Jurrien Timber, Takehiro Tomiyasu, Jakub Kiwior and Oleksandr Zinchenko, with one of the latter two likely to leave this summer.

Poland international Kiwior has shown promise since joining Arsenal last January but has struggled for regular minutes in Arteta’s team.

There is plenty of interest from clubs in Italy after Kiwior impressed for Spezia, earning a £24m move to the Premier League 18 months ago.

More: Arsenal | Chelsea | Every completed PL transfer this summer