Riccardo Calafiori to Arsenal transfer - Real Madrid 'wrath', Training camp, Bologna stalling

Riccardo Calafiori
-Credit: (Image: Tullio Puglia - UEFA/UEFA via Getty Images)

Riccardo Calafiori has recently emerged as a target for Arsenal as Mikel Arteta looks to bolster his backline. 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 first round of the knockout stages, Calafiori caught the eye. The centre-back started each of Gli Azzurri's group stage matches, but he missed the round of 16 due to suspension.

In his absence, Switzerland stormed past Luciano Spalletti's side and won 2-0. So, with that being said, has rounded up everything you need to know about Calafiori and his future at Bologna.

Real Madrid 'wrath'

Arsenal could be about to face the wrath of Carlo Ancelotti and his Real Madrid squad in their chase for Bologna defender Riccardo Calafiori this summer after the La Liga missed out on Lille centre-back Leny Yoro.

The Gunners' Premier League rivals Manchester United were the ones to land the 18-year-old who has his medical booked in the UK this week ahead of his move to Old Trafford, leaving Ancelotti to demand Madrid's president Florentino Perez to go after both Calafiori and Bayern Munich's Alphonso Davies according to TEAMtalk.

Training camp start

After finishing up his international duty at the Euros over the summer, Calafiori is now set to return from his holiday in the Maldives back to Bologna and begin their preseason training camp before any move to Arsenal can be sorted, essentially thwarting any hopes he may join them before the Gunners' preseason tour of the U.S.

It's believed the Serie A club are stalling the deal in order to reduce the amount of sell-on fees FC Basel get from their own sale of the 22-year-old to Bologna last year, meaning the deal is yet to go through despite personal terms having been agreed over two weeks ago.

Bologna stalling

Arsenal may have seen their hopes to sign Calafiori before their preseason tour of the U.S begins put on hold as reports seem to suggest that Bologna are planning on stalling out the offer until they can renegotiate the sell-on clause they have with FC Basel.

Currently, the Swiss club would be guaranteed 50 percent of whatever Arsenal pay for the Italy international but it's believed that the Serie A outfit are now hoping they can reduce that somewhat before proceeding with the transfer.

Arsenal interest

According to Fabrizio Romano, Mike Arteta has given Arsenal the green light to sign Calafiori. The report states that the Gunners have presented the Italian with a long-term proposal.

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

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Bologna reportedly want €50m (£42.3m) for Calafiori. Despite great interest in the youngster, Romano has clarified that no formal bid has been made yet.

Chelsea advantage

Chelsea are also interested in Calafiori and they're willing to offer Bologna players as part of a player-plus-cash deal, according to Fabrizio Romano. Interestingly, the Italian journalist has previously reported that Basel – the defender's former club – are entitled to 40 per cent of a future sale over €6m (£5.1m).

So, in theory, Bologna could maximise their returns by accepting a lower fee plus player from Chelsea than accepting a full cash offer from Arsenal. By taking the Blues' proposal, Basel would receive a lower sell-on fee and the Serie A club would sign a player to keep or sell for full profit in future.

Calafiori cost Bologna just £4m when he joined them last summer.

Bologna stance

In an interview with Italian publication Calciomercato, the Bologna technical director provided an update on Calafiori's future. As quoted by the Evening Standard, Giovanni Sartori said: "We took him 12 months ago so we'll see what happens in the market but in our heads there is the will to keep him.

"We will try to keep him but if important offers arrive we will have to take them into consideration. I don't think he will go to Juventus, he will probably go to a different market."

Premier League dream

In an interview with Vocegiallorossa in 2022, Calafiori named the two Premier League clubs he'd like to play for one day. He said: "I have two images: going back to Italy, perhaps in Rome. Or my dream would be to play in the Premier League. I really like West Ham or Chelsea."

Mourinho influence

Speaking to Sportweek, as quoted by the Mirror, Calafiori said: "[Jose] 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."

In a recent press conference, Calafiori claimed Mourinho was a pivotal part of his progression to the top, stating: "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% in every training session and that he makes his choices by looking at what you give on the pitch."