Liverpool trump card in Calafiori talks REVEALED with wantaway defender unhappy at being denied move

Liverpool have received a significant boost in their pursuit of Bologna defender Riccardo Calafiori with reports that the Italian side are looking at Sepp van den Berg as a possible replacement. 

Calafiori, 22, has become one of the most coveted players of this transfer window having starred for the Rossoblu during the Serie A season, leading to qualification to the Champions League.

The left-sider has also been in great form for Italy during the European Championship, making his competitive debut in the opening group stage game against Albania and delivering a great assist for Mattia Zaccagni to score the equaliser against Croatia which led to the Azzurri’s qualification to the knockout rounds. 

It was reported in the Athletic last week that the Reds had made enquiries over Calafiori, who only joined Bologna last summer in a deal worth around €4 million from Swiss side Basel. 

Liverpool require defenders with Joel Matip out of contract and question marks raised over the long-term future of Virgil van Dijk. 

Calafiori is not the only player on the radar with the Reds also linked with Levi Colwill, Piero Hincapie, Willian Pacho, Leny Yoro and Goncalo Inacio. 

Riccardo Calafiori - Bologna and Italy

Riccardo Calafiori Italy looks on, UEFA EURO, EM, Europameisterschaft,Fussball 2024 - Group B, Italy vs Albania, BVB Stadium Dortmund, June 15, 2024, Dortmund, Germany.

Any move for Calafiori could be complicated by the presence of Juventus, with new coach Thiago Motta having been recruited from Bologna. 

The Brazil-born former Italy midfielder has been a huge influence on Calafiori’s career, converting him from left back to centre back and it’s believed that if the former Roma academy graduate decides to move this summer he would prefer Juve. 

However, if the price climbs any higher then Juventus will be effectively out of the race. 

Sepp van den Berg

1:0 Mainz durch Sepp van den Berg 3, Mainz 05 17.02.2024, Fußball, 1. Bundesliga, 1. FSV Mainz 05 - FC Augsburg, 22. Spieltag, Saison 2023/24, MEWA Arena, Mainz, Deutschland, zmdz, ** DFB & DFL regulations prohibit any use of photographs as image sequences and/or quasi-video. ** 1. FSV Mainz 05 - FC Augsburg *** 1 0 Mainz by Sepp van den Berg 3, Mainz 05 17 02 2024, Football, 1 Bundesliga, 1 FSV Mainz 05 FC Augsburg, 22 Matchday, Season 2023 24, MEWA Arena, Mainz, Germany, zmdz, DFB DFL regulations prohibit any use of photographs as image sequences and or quasi video 1 FSV Mainz 05 FC Augsburg

Gazzetta dello Sport now states that Calafiori will go for €50 million including bonuses, a sum outside of Juve’s budget, and the Turin side are ready to propose player exchanges or loans in order to make up the shortfall. 

Bologna looking at Van den Berg

But Bologna are under no pressure to sell with Calafiori under contract until 2028 and they will drive a hard bargain considering Basel have got a 40 percent sell-on clause inserted in the deal. 

Nonetheless, Bologna are making plans should they lose their defensive pearl with Liverpool’s Van den Berg under discussion, according to The Daily MailVan den Berg, 22, is listed as available this summer having spent last season on loan with Mainz. 

Liverpool are reported to want around £20m for the Dutchman, who is unhappy that the club is standing in the way of a transfer away

Real Madrid, Tottenham and Arsenal have been named as potential rivals for Calafiori this summer but in Van den Berg Liverpool’s trump card in any negotiations might well have been revealed.  

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