Premier League • England

Arsenal accelerate Calafiori transfer despite TWO major concerns; Arteta’s masterplan for the defender revealed

Bologna defender Riccardo Calafiori, Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta

Arsenal are pressing ahead with the signing of Riccardo Calafiori despite two lingering concerns, and how Mikel Arteta plans to use the Italy ace has been confirmed.

Calafiori rose to prominence last season during a stellar campaign with Bologna. The Serie A side qualified for the Champions League, though look set to lose two of their brightest stars.

Striker Joshua Zirkzee is heading to Manchester United who have agreed personal terms with the player. United are now determining whether to pay the player’s £34m release clause or attempt to strike a structured deal with Bologna.

Calafiori, meanwhile, has agreed personal terms with Arsenal. The 22-year-old left-footer is primed to earn around £65,000-a-week if moving to the Emirates and a five-year deal is in place.

Chelsea had also shown interest in Calafiori, but the Blues have paved the way for Arsenal to strike after signing Basel’s Renato Veiga in a £12m deal instead.

Bologna and Arsenal have discussed the transfer fee it will take to unlock Calafiori’s transfer. The Italian side hope to collect €50m/£43m and according to fresh updates, further discussions have been held.

Arsenal accelerate Calafiori transfer

Both the Guardian and Athletic confirmed club-to-club new talks over the transfer fee have been held.

Manager Mikel Arteta is a driving force behind the move and wants Calafiori signed before Arsenal depart for their pre-season tour of America next week.

In further positive news for the Gunners, Italy’s early exit from Euro 2024 means Calafiori’s international commitments are no longer in play.

Several major transfers in the world of football are currently on hold due to the relevant player still being involved at Euro 2024 or the Copa America.

That is no longer a factor that affects Calafiori’s move to Arsenal and the expectation is they and Bologna will soon agree a fee in the €50m/£43m range.

Double Calafiori concern won’t torpedo Arsenal move

However, according to the Athletic, Arteta ‘s belief in Calafiori isn’t shared by everyone at the club.

Their report highlighted two concerns others within Arsenal possess regarding the Italian.

Firstly, some within Arsenal believe the €50m fee it will take to sign Calafiori represents an overpayment.

The player’s price point is €50m is believed to be inflated for two reasons – his excellent displays at Euro 2024 and the fact Bologna must give half of the fee they receive to Calafiori’s former club Basel due to a 50 percent sell-on clause.

The other concern relates to Calafiori’s chequered injury history. The Italian suffered a serious knee injury while with Roma back in 2018 and has endured frequent spells on the sidelines since then.

Nonetheless, Arteta remains fully convinced by Calafiori and how he plans to utilise the player has been revealed.

READ MORE: Riccardo Calafiori: Everything you need to know as Arsenal close in on special defensive talent

How Arteta will use Calafiori revealed

Both the Guardian and Athletic stated Arteta aims to field Calafiori at left-back, though the player will be deployed as an inverted full-back.

In other words, Calafiori will be given license to roam infield and into midfield, just as Oleksandr Zinchenko has previously and Trent Alexander-Arnold does for Liverpool.

Calafiori is thus expected to installed as the regular starter at left-back upon arriving. He’ll also serve as primary back-up to Gabriel Magalhaes at left-centre-back when the Brazilian is rotated.

A consequence of Calafiori’s potential arrival could be the sale of Jakub Kiwior who is being lined up by Inter Milan.

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