‘Imminent’ £47m Arsenal transfer deal for Serie A star Calafiori labelled a ‘disaster’

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

Riccardo Calafiori’s potential transfer from Serie A side Bologna to Arsenal has been labelled a “disaster” by legendary Italian sporting director Walter Sabatini.

The Gunners are believed to be leading the race to sign the Italy international after impressing at Euro 2024 for the national side following an impressive season at Bologna.

Reports on Thursday insisted the potential transfer to Arsenal is ‘imminent’ as the Gunners have agreed to pay €55m (£47m) to Bologna for his services.

On Friday morning, transfer expert Fabrizio Romano gave his understanding of the current situation surrounding Calafiori’s future.

Romano wrote in his Caught Offside column: “Let me say that in the last 24 hours, Arsenal made contact on the club side for Riccardo Calafiori.

“Talks are now ongoing but we are still waiting for an official bid, still waiting for the club to club agreement.

“The player gave a green light to Arsenal in terms of contract, and is really excited by the possibility of working under Mikel Arteta.

“He’s considered a proper, proper talent for the left-back or centre-back position, he can cover both of them.

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“Arsenal are really convinced that they have an agreement almost ready on the player side, but are still waiting to reach agreement with Bologna. I told you that the relationship with Bologna is very good, and they want something around €50m/€55m.

“The other club monitoring the situation is Chelsea, but at the moment Arsenal are ahead.”

And now legendary Italian sporting director Sabatini thinks the transfer is another “disaster” for Serie A as he reckons Calafiori will become a “great player”.

Sabatini told Radio Sportiva: “It’s a disaster when strong, young players like him leave our league. €45million as a valuation is a huge sum but defenders are paid even more these days.

“I think it’s the minimum for someone like him: left-footed, physically imposing, authoritative and with personality in the game.

“Let’s remember what he did in the 96th minute against Croatia: he came out with the ball at his feet, ran 40 meters, took on the defence and passed the ball.

“These are plays you only do if you have quality and the courage to take risks and to execute the action is something only great players do.”

Reacting to Calafiori’s potential arrival, former Arsenal and Chelsea midfielder Emmanuel Petit told reporters: “I think one of the main reasons Italy lost in the last 16 is because Calafiori didn’t play due to suspension.

“I really like this player. He is very good with the ball, is very intelligent without the ball and he can play different positions.

“He has got the fighting spirit, and is a great character with personality on the pitch so I think he could be an interesting target for Arsenal.

“He’s got the leadership and confidence for sure. I watched him closely in the tournament and you could see he was so focused on what he had to do.”