Liverpool battle Real Madrid and Juventus for €40m 'new Sergio Ramos'

Liverpool have been listed among the Premier League teams who have enquired about Italy defensive sensation Riccardo Calafiori. 

The 22-year-old made his competitive debut for the Azzurri during the first game of their European Championship defence, against Albania on Saturday night. 

He earned rave reviews, being likened to Real Madrid legend - and Liverpool nemesis - Sergio Ramos by former Madrid and England manager Fabio Capello. 

“If I have to compare the Bologna defender to a player from the past, the first thought goes to a young Sergio Ramos,” Capello wrote in La Gazzetta dello Sport

“In 2006/07, in my second stint on the Real Madrid bench, I coached the Spaniard, who had arrived the previous season from Sevilla. 

“Calafiori, just like Ramos, transformed from a full-back into a centre-back. And I can assure you that Sergio Ramos, as nasty as we remember him now, became that way over time.”

 

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Converted from a left back to a centre back by former Bologna head coach Thiago Motta, Calafiori looked a player transformed during the club’s 2023/24 Serie A campaign, which culminated in a berth in next season’s Champions League for the club and a maiden Italian call-up for the defender. 

A Roma academy graduate, Calafiori was sold to Basel in the summer of 2022 for around €3 million, with the Swiss side inserting a 50 percent sell-on clause in his contract. 

He moved back to Serie A last summer, with Bologna, and could well be on the move again with Europe’s top sides now queuing up to sign the left-sider. 

Calafiori wants Thiago Motta reunion

As well as Liverpool, Tottenham, Newcastle, Brighton and West Ham have all been mentioned as Premier League suitors - according to the Athletic - but the biggest threat to the Reds’ chances of signing Calafiori come from Juventus and Real Madrid. 

Juventus is reportedly Calafiori’s preferred destination; Thiago Motta has been installed as new head coach and if the defender is to leave Bologna then he would like to hook up with his mentor in Turin. 

However, Juventus could be priced out of a move with Bologna desiring a bidding war and a price tag of around €40m now being discussed. 

Juve, for their part, are reported to be willing to pay only €25m for Calafiori despite him being described as the player at the top of their defensive wishlist. 

And in the Spanish capital, it is believed Carlo Ancelotti’s Real Madrid side view him as an alternative to the more expensive Leny Yoro, whose Lille future remains uncertain, according to Calciomercato.

Calafiori has got a contract with Bologna until 2027 and the Rossoblu are under no pressure to sell given they are about to cash in on Arsenal and Manchester United target Joshua Zirkzee. 

Liverpool's centre back options

He would appear to fit the bill for Liverpool's new transfer team of Michael Edwards and sporting director Richard Hughes, being a left-sided defender capable of playing left back or centre back.

Moreover, he is tactically flexible, capable of moving from a back four to a back three.

Other defenders linked to that role have been Lloyd Kelly, Goncalo Inacio and Levi Colwill.

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