€50m-rated Euro 2024 star on Liverpool radar gets ex-England manager's seal of approval

Liverpool transfer target Riccardo Calafiori has been tipped to become ‘a great defender’ by former Real Madrid and England manager Fabio Capello. 

The 22-year-old Bologna sensation has taken Euro 2024 by storm, starring for Italy as they qualified from the group of death to take their place in the round 16. 

Calafiori has stood out with his versatility being a key weapon for Luciano Spalletti, capable of playing left back, centre back and even stepping into defensive midfield when required. 

He was on hand to provide a brilliant assist for Mattia Zaccagni’s 98th-minute equaliser against Croatia on Monday night, ensuring the Azzurri finished second behind Spain in the group. 

They now move on to the knockouts with a chance of defending the title they picked up against England at Wembley at Euro 2020.

Calafiori was unlucky to score an own goal which decided the result in the Spain clash but has otherwise been imperious for the title holders throughout the group stage. 

 

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His form has led to widespread transfer speculation with Juventus, Real Madrid, Tottenham and Liverpool among the teams most heavily linked with his signature during the summer transfer window. 

It is believed Juve are close to wrapping up a deal for the €50 million-rated defensive ace but the Reds should get ready to pounce if the Turin side fail in their endeavours. 

Calafiori has expressed a preference to move from Bologna alongside ex-Rossoblu coach Thiago Motta, now installed as new Juve manager. 

And Capello, who last week compared Calafiori to a young Sergio Ramos, has again singled out the Roma academy graduate for praise. 

READ MORE: Calafiori NOT the new Sergio Ramos... he's better than that

Speaking as part of the post-match broadcast for the Croatia game, Capello addressed Calafiori directly, stating that he can go on to achieve great things in the game. 

"Not only the play for Zaccagni's goal, I liked your whole game and your personality,” he said on Sky Sport Italia. “Continue like this and work humbly, you will become a great defender." 

Liverpool are in the market for central defensive reinforcements this summer with Joel Matip out of contract and the long-term future of Virgil van Dijk undecided. 

Riccardo Calafiori

Riccardo Calafiori

Other players linked with Anfield are Goncalo Inacio and David Hancko although each looks a remote possibility for new Liverpool transfer team Richard Hughes and Michael Edwards. 

Calafiori moved to Bologna from FC Basel last summer for a reported €4m fee, with the Swiss side inserting a 50 percent sell-on clause into his contract. 

He was switched into a centre back role by Thiago Motta, demonstrating his adaptability, and has since grown into the most coveted centre back talent in Europe. 

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