Exclusive: Arsenal lead race for Chelsea target who is “excellent” in two positions, according to transfer expert

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Arsenal are leading the race for the transfer of Bologna centre-back Riccardo Calafiori at the moment, according to Fabrizio Romano, despite Chelsea also still being there.

Speaking exclusively to CaughtOffside for his latest Daily Briefing column, Romano made it clear that the Gunners have presented their project to Calafiori and he’s given them the green light, with Juventus also now currently looking like being out of the race due to bad relations with Bologna.

Calafiori shone in Serie A last season and would surely be a superb signing for a number of top clubs around Europe, with Arsenal looking in need of that profile of player that can fill in at centre-back or left-back.

Romano says the Italy international is excellent in both positions, and that would explain why Mikel Arteta seems so keen on him, having used Jakub Kiwior in a similar kind of role last season.

Calafiori transfer: Arsenal lead race against Chelsea and Juventus

Providing his latest update on the Calafiori transfer situation, Romano said: “The big story of the last few days is with Riccardo Calafiori … now Arsenal have presented their proposal to the Italy international – it’s a long-term contract, the salary is not an issue at all, and they also presented their project to the player, and he is open to joining Arsenal in case they can reach an agreement with Bologna.

“So, there is already a green light from Calafiori to Arsenal, but what about Chelsea? My understanding is that Chelsea are prepared to approach Bologna, and that they will try to include players in the negotiation. It’s a different strategy, but Chelsea are still there, even if Arsenal are the favourites at the moment.

Riccardo Calafiori to Arsenal?

“Arsenal have a shortlist with three names in that position – left-footed defenders who can play centre-back or left-back. Jorrel Hato fits the bill in that respect and also remains one of the most appreciated talents by Arsenal, but for now Ajax still insist to keep him for one more season.

“So, Calafiori is exactly what Arsenal are looking for in that position, and Mikel Arteta has approved the potential deal and we’re now waiting for the next step. Let’s see what will happen between Arsenal and Bologna, this is now the crucial point.”

He added: “It will be interesting to see his development from here, and how Arsenal plan to use him if they manage to complete this signing. He can play easily as a centre-back or left-back, he’s excellent in both positions; he was a left-back for his whole career before this superb season as centre-back last season.”

More Stories Fabrizio Romano Mikel Arteta Riccardo Calafiori

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