Riccardo Calafiori can get dream Arsenal shirt number if Edu completes £42.5m transfer

Arsenal have stepped up their interest in Bologna defender Riccardo Calafiori following Italy's elimination from Euro 2024.

The 22-year-old centre-back put in some impressive displays in Serie A last season, making 30 appearances for Vincenzo Italiano's side and helping them qualify for the Champions League. Now, the Gunners have registered their interest in the Italian international and are keen to bring him to Emirates Stadium this summer, understands.

Calafiori, who can also play at left-back, has now finished his responsibilities with the national side at the Euros and is free to sort his own future - with Bologna admitting that they will consider an exit for the defender. Chelsea are also interested in the player, however, but it's been reported Calafiori would prefer a move to the Gunners if Edu can strike a deal.

Arsenal can offer Champions League football next season and Mikel Arteta will be looking to challenge Manchester City for the Premier League title for a third successive year. This will likely appeal to Calafiori, who will be allowed to leave Bologna should the Gunners pay their €50million (£42.5million) asking price.

If Edu is able to strike a deal with the Italian side, Arsenal may be able to give Calafiori his dream shirt number when he arrives at Emirates Stadium. Currently, the former AS Roma man wears No.33 for Bologna.

No.33 was also a number he wore during his two seasons with FC Basel, which perhaps confirms Calafiori has an affiliation with the number. At this moment in time No.33 is available at Arsenal and could be given to Calafiori should he make the move.

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Another shirt number which Calafiori may like is No.3. This currently belongs to Kieran Tierney but the Scotsman has been tipped to leave Emirates Stadium this summer in search of regular first team football. If the left-back does indeed depart, this would give Calafiori the chance to choose between No.3 and No.33.

It's also worth noting that Calafiori wore the No.5 shirt during Italy's Euro 2024 campaign. This is currently occupied by Thomas Partey at Arsenal, who has been linked with an exit from north London himself amid interest from Italy and Saudi Arabia.

Interestingly, Calafiori has already revealed it is his dream to play in England's top flight. In an interview with Vocegiallorossa in 2022 during his time at FC Basel, 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."

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It remains to be seen if Calafiori does seal a move to Arsenal in the coming weeks. Arteta will be keen to welcome the Italian as soon as possible if a deal can be done, though, with the Gunners flying out to the United States on July 21 for a pre-season tour.