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Arsenal set to close Riccardo Calafiori deal this week

Arsenal are close to securing the signature of Italian defender Riccardo Calafiori after further discussions with Bologna. According to The Guardian, the Gunners hope to conclude a deal this week.

The 22-year-old has reportedly agreed personal terms with the Gunners, with manager Mikel Arteta eager to finalise the transfer before the pre-season tour to the United States kicks off next week.

Per Sky Italy, the player has his heart set on the move. Negotiations regarding the fee and payment structure appear to be nearing completion.

Bologna are expected to receive around £42 million for Calafiori, a significant profit on the £3.4 million they paid Basel last summer. The Swiss giants are entitled to 50% of that profit.

The impressive Italy international proved his mettle at the 2024 European Championship, winning 53% of his duels for Luciano Spalletti’s side.

He provided the crucial assist for Mattia Zaccagni’s dramatic equaliser against Croatia in the group stage.

The Rome-born defender was a key figure for Bologna as they qualified for the Champions League for the first time since the 1964/65 season.

The former AS Roma star bagged two goals and five assists in 30 Serie A appearances for the Rossoblu. He is dominant in the air, winning 71% of his aerial and 58% of his ground duels.

He is terrific on the ball, impressing with his ability to punch passes through the lines.

Calafiori’s versatility will be pivotal for Arteta. He can cover left-back and centre-back, adeptly deputising for Oleksandr Zinchenko and Gabriel Magalhaes.

Calafiori can replace Zinchenko at full-back, with the Ukrainian struggling for form last term. The Arsenal man was found wanting at the back severally, and Arteta will be keen on bringing in another reliable figure.

He can slot in as an inverted full-back and seamlessly transition into midfield roles. He would also provide competition for Magalhaes, who has been a mainstay at the back for years now.

However, Arsenal will be wary of his less-than-ideal injury record. The Italian centre-half has been plagued by injuries for most of his career, managing his first healthy season last term.

Arteta will hope that Calafiori continues to register a clean bill of health. He could play a crucial role in their title challenge next term.

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