Arsenal look to finalise £42m signing of Italy defender Riccardo Calafiori

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Arsenal are hoping to complete the signing of Riccardo Calafiori this week after holding further talks with Bologna over the Italy defender. The 22-year-old is understood to have agreed terms after his impressive displays at Euro 2024 and Mikel Arteta is keen to push through the transfer before Arsenal depart for their pre-season tour of the United States next week.

Negotiations over the fee and the structure of payments are believed to have progressed over the past few days, with Bologna likely to receive about £42m for the player they signed from Basel last summer for £3.4m. The Swiss club are understood to be due 50% of any profit Bologna make.

Calafiori, who scored an own goal in Italy’s group-stage loss to Spain but set up Mattia Zaccagni’s stoppage-time equaliser against Croatia, excelled at Bologna last season in a three-man defence as he helped them qualify for next season’s Champions League. He is also capable of playing at left-back and Arteta is said to view the former Roma player as a key addition as an inverted full-back capable of slotting into midfield positions, and to provide competition to the established central defensive partnership of Gabriel Magalhães and William Saliba.

Calafiori’s arrival could hasten the departures of Jakub Kiwior and Oleksandr Zinchenko, both of whom were utilised at left-back last season.

Chelsea had shown interest in Calafiori, before agreeing a deal to sign Renato Veiga from Basel, and he had previously been linked with Bayer Leverkusen and Paris Saint-Germain.

Arteta said last week that Arsenal were “looking to improve in every possible department” but said the market was “tricky” given the Euros and Copa América tournaments and tighter financial regulations for Premier League clubs.

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Arsenal are understood to be among several clubs interested in Crystal Palace’s Eberechi Eze and they could look into signing a goalkeeper as back-up to David Raya if they allow Aaron Ramsdale to depart.


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