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Riccardo Calafiori sends Chelsea and Tottenham transfer message with inspired Euro 2024 showing

Riccardo Calafiori impressed for Italy against Croatia
-Credit: (Image: Getty Images)


Riccardo Calafiori produced a fine individual performance during Italy's 1-1 draw against Croatia on Monday, showing Chelsea and Tottenham exactly why they should buy him.

The 22-year-old, who helped Bologna qualify for the Champions League last season, dragged Italy over the line with an inspired display which included him assisting a 98th minute equaliser to send his nation into the knockout stages. Calafiori was simply sensational at the Red Bull Arena in Leipzig.

He started at the back - like in every group game - alongside Alessandro Bastoni and Italy were largely untroubled up until Luka Modric put Croatia ahead in the 54th minute. Although Luciano Spaletti's side could have gone through as one of the best third-place teams even with defeat, they needed just a draw to guarantee automatic qualification for the last 16.

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And Italy managed to find the all-important leveller in injury time. The strike was made by Calafiori, who darted into midfield and drove to the edge of the box before slipping a pass into Mattia Zaccagni and he did the rest, curling a delightful effort into the top corner beyond Dominik Livakovic.

That meant that Italy would finish second in Group B behind Spain, who finished on nine points from a possible nine. Italy will now face Switzerland in the last 16 on Saturday.

As well as the assist, Calafiori put in an excellent performance at the back. Calafiori completed 93 per cent of his passes, he created more chances (four) than any other player on the pitch and he won all of his aerial duels. The Bologna defender also wasn't dribbled past once in the entire game.

Speaking after the match, Calafiori told EURO2024.com: "I cannot explain my feelings right now because I'm so happy. I think we deserved this goal a lot. We proved that we could play like this. We have to keep going on this path. When you play with no fear and you have the game in your hands, it's completely different."

Calafiori is expected to continue playing a huge role in Spaletti's side for the remainder of Euro 2024, though he is banned for the clash against Switzerland after picking up his second yellow card of the tournament. In the meantime, Calafiori has been linked with a move to the Premier League. Chelsea and Tottenham are among those reported to be interested in him following an impressive campaign with Bologna.

It was reported last week that Tottenham held initial talks over a potential transfer for the in-demand Bologna centre-back. Spurs want to sign a new defender this summer, while Chelsea, Newcastle, AC Milan and Juventus also firmly in the race should he decide to leave the Serie A club.

There is no doubt that Calafiori would strengthen both Chelsea and Tottenham. Spurs need extra depth at the back as they prepare for the Europa League, while the Blues need another centre-back to suit Enzo Maresca's system. The former Leicester boss used a three-at-the-back system last season.