Liverpool chasing $45m transfer for defender axed by Jose Mourinho

Jose Mourinho sold Riccardo Calafiori at Roma
-Credit: (Image: AS Roma via Getty Images)

Liverpool's quest for defensive reinforcements has led them to Euro 2024 standout, Riccardo Calafiori.

He's well-respected by his former boss at AS Roma, Jose Mourinho. The former Chelsea, Manchester United and Tottenham coach took the reins at Roma in July 2021, leading the Italian team to its first ever European title - the Conference League - 10 months later.

Calafiori was on Roma''s roster when Mourinho touched down in Italy, but they didn't see eye-to-eye and he was ultimately offloaded to Basel in Switzerland in the same year. Even so, there's apparently regret over his departure within the Stadio Olimpico corridors, with both Roma and Mourinho holding the Liverpool transfer target in high esteem.

READ MORE: Marcus Rashford transfer decision could be good news for Liverpool - here's why
READ MORE: 4 players Liverpool can sign on free transfer this summer as Arne Slot builds roster

This buzz comes amid murmurs linking him with Premier League pair Liverpool and Arsenal. The £45 million-rated defender shares that he maintains a good rapport with the Portuguese coach, who was seen on Instagram scouting Calafiori upon his initial arrival in Rome.

Speaking to Sportweek via Mirror Football, Calafiori revealed: "Mourinho? With him, I also started quite well. Then there was the match against Bodo, in which we lost 6-1. From there, things went downhill.

"He sent me to the bench and decided to rely on others, but my need and desire were to play. It was his choice, of course, but I’ll also tell you something. Mou and I talk; he wrote me several messages, and there’s a nice relationship between us."

Calafiori joined Bologna for the bargain price of around $5 million. He certainly had a hand in helping Thiago Motta's players secure their historic spot in the Champions League last season. Roma isn't complaining though, as they stand to bag a nice 40 percent if he hops across to the Premier League thanks to a clause written into his contract.

Calafiori wasted no time in singing Mourinho's praises when chatting with the press recently, pointing out: "Mourinho forged my character and personality, while with Thiago Motta, I tried things that tactically I had never seen.

"At Bologna, we train defensive solidity, and it shows in the game: it is the sign of a united team. Motta has in common with Mourinho the fact that he asks you for 200 percent in every training session and that he makes his choices by looking at what you give on the pitch."

If the bittersweet reactions from his previous associates are anything to go by, Mourinho clearly thinks highly of Calafiori. If he ends up turning up in a Liverpool shirt - or any English club for that matter - it would hardly be surprising.