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One thing Riccardo Calafiori must learn quickly if he's to complete Liverpool transfer

Riccardo Calafiori of Italy and Bologna
-Credit: (Image: Giuseppe Maffia/NurPhoto via Getty Images)


Liverpool target Riccardo Calafiori looks to be on the move this summer.

The Italy and Bologna defender impressed in Serie A last season, helping the latter qualify for the Champions League for the first time in their history. While Italy were also dumped out of EURO 2024 by Switzerland in the round of 16, a tie the 22-year-old missed due to suspension, Calafiori still impressed, featuring in all of their group stage games.

And the highly rated prospect has been linked with a host of Premier League sides this summer, with Liverpool, Tottenham Hotspur, Arsenal, Newcastle, Brighton and West Ham all reportedly interested in the left-footed centre-back.

The Italian will likely command a hefty fee, thought to be in the region of $50m. That could also be complicated by a sell-on fee his former side Basel have, which might see Bologna try and hold out for the best deal possible.

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However, should Calafiori make the switch to Merseyside, he will have to overcome one particular challenge if he wants to succeed at Anfield under Arne Slot.

Calafiori must conquer the language barrier, an issue Slot has encountered previously during his time as Feyenoord boss. In 2022, the Dutch side signed Brazilian forward Igor Paixão from Coritiba.

The 24-year-old, understandably, took some time to settle in the Netherlands, scoring his first goal for Feyenoord in January 2023. However, at the time of his arrival in Rotterdam, the Brazilian could not communicate with his team-mates, or his manager.

Riccardo Calafiori looks on ahead of Italy's opening Euro 2024 game against Albania
Riccardo Calafiori has been linked with a move to Liverpool -Credit:Getty Images

And it was an adjustment period which Slot described as "incredibly difficult" when asked back in 2022 why Paixão was not playing regularly following his move from Brazil.

"It’s incredibly difficult when I say ‘go, go, go’ and he doesn’t know what I mean," explained Slot.

"With ‘press, press, press’, he doesn’t know what I’m saying either. If you have a lot of trouble communicating with your fellow players, you have to be very good if you want to make a difference. Of course, he takes English lessons, so that he at least knows the simple words you need in the field."

Thankfully for Slot and Feyenoord, Paixão's role would increase in 2023, with the forward helping the Dutch side claim their 16th Eredivisie title by scoring seven goals and registering five assists. And then a year later, he would score the winner in Feyenoord's KNVB Cup final 1-0 triumph over NEC.