Chelsea discover Riccardo Calafiori transfer advantage over Arsenal as 'secret' clause revealed

Riccardo Calafiori of Italy looks on prior to the UEFA EURO 2024 round of 16 match between Switzerland and Italy at Olympiastadion on June 29, 2024
-Credit: (Image: Photo by Claudio Villa/Getty Images for FIGC)

Chelsea could have an advantage over Arsenal in the race to sign Riccardo Calafiori this summer. The 22-year-old defender continues to be heavily linked with a move to the Premier League following his impressive performances for Italy at Euro 2024.

Despite diving out of the tournament in the round of 16, Calafiori caught the eye. The centre-back started each of Gli Azzurri's group matches, but he missed the first round of the knockout stages due to suspension.

In his absence, Switzerland booked a place in the quarter-finals against England with a 2-0 win over Luciano Spalletti's side. While Italy were largely unimpressive at the European championships, Calafiori was a standout performer, courting the interest of some top clubs.

In fact, according to Fabrizio Romano, Arsenal and Chelsea are both interested in Calafiori, though no formal bid has been made yet. The report states that the Gunners have presented the youngster with a long-term proposal.

It's said that Calafiori is open to joining Arsenal, who are said to have a 'good relationship' with Bologna after signing Takehiro Tomiyasu from the Serie A club in August 2021. Romano claims that the defender is one of three defenders currently on the north Londoners' shortlist this summer.

As for Chelsea, they're reportedly willing to offer Bologna a player-plus-cash deal. Interestingly, it's been widely reported that Basel – Calafiori's former club – are entitled to 40 per cent of a future sale over €6m (£5.1m).

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The defender cost just £4m when he joined Bologna last summer, and now his price tag has increased tenfold. According to Romano, the Italian side want €50m (£42.3m) for Calafiori's signature.

With Chelsea considering a player-plus-cash deal, Arsenal could be at a disadvantage – and here's why. In theory, Bologna could maximise the value of their return by accepting a lower cash fee plus a player from Chelsea, rather than accepting a cash offer in full from Arsenal.

By taking the Blues' proposal, Basel would receive a lower sell-on fee. In the meantime, the Serie A club would still get cash but also a player, who they can keep or sell for a profit in the future.

There is, of course, the danger that the player who Chelsea include in the deal doesn't fulfil their potential or perform to an expected standard which their valuation suggests. However, this risk could easily be alleviated if the west Londoners were to offer particular players.

For instance, Cesare Casadei, Armando Broja, Alfie Gilchrist and David Datro Fofana all currently face somewhat uncertain futures at Stamford Bridge. Each of the four youngsters have reasonably lucrative market values – not to mention the likes of Ben Chilwell and Romelu Lukaku, who have been briefly linked with exits this summer.