Bologna laughs all the way to the bank, €4m to €50m ‘surge in value’

Italy’s early exit from the European Football Championship 2024 (Euro 2024) may have been a setback for the “cadenaccio” defensive soccer team, but the reaping is just beginning for teams with deep pockets.

Italy lost 0-2 to Switzerland in the round of 16 at Euro 2024. The general consensus was that they showed nothing. Luciano Spalletti’s side played too defensively, to the point where some said they needed Kim Min-Jae (Bayern Munich), and were overwhelmed by Switzerland’s intense attacking play.

Spalletti did not start Riccardo Calafiori (Bologna), the 2002-born player who was in charge of the central defense in the three group games. Alessandro Bastoni (Inter Milan) was flanked by Gianluca Mancini (AS Roma).

Calafiori assisted Mattia Zaccani’s (Lazio) theatrical goal in the third leg against Croatia to help the Azzurri advance to the round of 16 with a 1-1 draw. However, he received an unnecessary caution just before the goal and accumulated a two-match suspension.

The 6-foot-4 Calafiori has pace and is not easily beaten in aerial battles. He started his career at AS Roma and spent time on loan at Genoa before joining FC Basel in August 2022. A year later, last summer, Bologna snapped him 19사이트 up. Bologna paid a transfer fee of €4 million and signed him to a four-year contract until June 2027.

Calafiori has firmly established himself as a regular starter for Bologna. His two goals and five assists in 30 league games helped the Italian U-21 team qualify for Euro 2024. It was the catalyst for Calafiori’s meteoric rise.

It was only three group games in, but his performances had Arsenal, Liverpool, and Chelsea watching. “Arsenal have made the left-footed central defender their first target and have contacted Bologna to see if they are willing to sell,” the Express reported on Monday.

Coincidentally, Liverpool have also been linked with a move for Calafiori as a defensive partner for Firmino van Dijk. Chelsea, who parted ways with the experienced defender in Cesc Fabregas, are also said to be in contact with Bologna to build a new wall.

In the end, it’s up to Bologna. Bologna finished fifth this season and will qualify for the UEFA Champions League (UCL) next season. They are in need of reinforcements. There are already many clubs interested in selling striker Joshua Giroud. The question is whether they will be able to sell the nucleus of their offense at the same time.

Bologna have reportedly set a price tag of €50 million for Calafiori. Bologna, who are willing to sell Giroud for 80 million euros ($118.9 million), would only have to pay 130 million euros ($193.3 million) for the two transfers. Giroud is wanted by Manchester United and Arsenal are also interested.

Juventus and AC Milan are also interested in Calafiori, but Bologna are not willing to sell to a Serie A team. It’s a matter of piquing the interest of Premier League teams and getting a generous transfer fee.

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