Report: Liverpool Have ‘Enquired’ About This ‘Impressive’ EURO 2024 Star

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‘Impressive’ Italy Defender Catching the Eye as Liverpool’s Transfer Plans Unfold

Rumours are circulating that Liverpool have ‘enquired’ over the potential signing of Bologna defender Riccardo Calafiori as the transfer window begins to build momentum. Calafiori, who caught the eye in Italy’s opening EURO 2024 game against Albania, is thought to be one of the potential defensive targets that Arne Slot could set his sights on this summer.

Liverpool have been heavily linked with a number of defensive targets, particularly those that feature on the left side of the defence, suggesting there could be serious movement in that department this summer. In previous weeks, the likes of Frankfurt’s Willian Pacho and Chelsea’s Levi Colwill has been making the headlines – but this week, Calafiori is the new name linked with a move.

With that being said, let’s take a closer look at who Riccardo Calafiori is…

Who is Riccardo Calafiori?

Calafiori is a 22-year-old defender for Serie A side Bologna, who enjoyed a hugely impressive 2023/24 campaign by achieving UEFA Champions League qualification. The young defender was at the centre of that side’s success, making 34 appearances across all competitions with 30 of those coming in the Serie A.

Photo: IMAGO

After coming through the ranks at AS Roma, Calafiori spent a season on loan at Genoa before being snapped up for just £2million by FC Basel. After just one year in Switzerland, Calafiori returned to Italy in a £4million move to Bologna, where his value has rocketed in the space of a year. According to transfermarkt, Calafiori is now valued at around £30million, but could likely cost between £40-50million this summer.

His impressive performances at club level have earned him three senior appearances for the Italian national team. One of those came in Italy’s 2-1 victory over Albania over the weekend, where Calafiori was one of the standout players with an impressive performance.

Fitting into Liverpool’s System

Calafiori fits the profile of what Liverpool are reportedly looking for this summer, being a young, left-footed, versatile and physically impressive defender. With the expectation that Kostas Tsimikas will leave the club this summer, the Reds will likely want to find a defender that is capable of providing depth to the left-back position and Calafiori would be the perfect option in that aspect.

When you look at the current squad, Tsimikas is the only specialist player in the entire team in terms of being able to play a singular role so this would undoubtedly be a position I would be looking to improve on this summer. Calafiori could replace Tsimikas, whilst also being able to learn from Virgil Van Dijk and he certainly has the potential to be a world-class defender in the coming years.

Crunching the Numbers

On the face of it, Calafiori looks like a really promising player but what do his number suggest? Well, his numbers are really promising too and suit Liverpool’s style of play really well.

As you can see, his numbers on the ball are really impressive. The 22-year-old ranks highly for progressive carries and successful take-ons per 90 minutes, which is something we have seen Liverpool’s defenders do incredibly well in the past. Just look at the way Joel Matip would carry the ball out from the defence to offer a completely unique dynamic in the Reds’ build-up play.

Calafiori also puts up impressive creative numbers compared to other central defenders, placing in the 99th percentile for assists and the 97th percentile for shot-creating actions per 90 minutes.

His defensive numbers are decent in terms of tackles and blocks but really low for clearances. However, this is often the case for ball-playing defenders who look to play out from trouble rather than clear and invite more pressure. As you can see, Calafiori’s main defensive strength is his interceptions, placing in the 96th percentile in that metric.

Ultimately, I think Calafiori would be a solid signing for the Reds and could prove to be really good value for money if Michael Edwards can strike a deal in the £30-40million range. The Italian defender would certainly be my preferred choice out of the names being mentioned in recent reports, such as Pacho and Colwill.

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