2XCA333 Dortmund, Germany. 15th June 2024. DORTMUND, GERMANY - JUNE 15: Riccardo Calafiori of Italy looks up during the Group B - UEFA EURO 2024 match between Italy and Albania at Signal Iduna Park on June 15, 2024 in Dortmund, Germany. (Photo by Joris Verwijst/BSR Agency) Credit: BSR Agency/Alamy Live News Credit: BSR Agency/Alamy Live News

Liverpool have already enquired over deal for Italy’s new standout centre-back

Liverpool are among the Premier League clubs who have enquired over a transfer for Bologna’s Euro 2024 star Riccardo Calafiori, who has caught the eye for Italy.

Many became familiar with Calafiori’s name during his country’s 2-1 win over Albania to kick off Group B of the Euros on Saturday.

But the 22-year-old was already on Liverpool’s radar after an outstanding first season with Bologna, which saw him feature 37 times in all competitions following a move from Basel.

That is according to The Athletic‘s James Horncastle – a particularly reliable source when it comes to Italian football – reporting on Tuesday.

Horncastle writes that interest in Calafiori was “already high” heading into the Euros, with Liverpool, Newcastle, Brighton and West Ham all enquiring into his availability.

* Calafiori stats via FBref.

For their part, his club “wish to keep” their No. 33, though interestingly it is explained that Juventus, whose new manager Thiago Motta arrived from Bologna this summer, are “in pole position for his signing.”

Though no price tag is mentioned, any deal for Calafiori would likely be a costly one – particularly as Basel will be owed in the region of 40 to 50 percent of any fee.

Horncastle describes him as a “hybrid centre-back,” having been converted from an attacking left-back by Motta at Bologna.

Calafiori still made six appearances at left-back last season, but he has settled into a new role as a progressive, ball-playing centre-back.

The next Van Dijk – or his next partner?

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Saturday, May 18, 2024: Liverpool's captain Virgil van Dijk during the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Wolverhampton Wanderers FC at Anfield. Liverpool won 2-0. (Photo by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

That, no doubt, is of interest to Liverpool, who appear to be in the market for either a long-term successor to Virgil van Dijk or a new left-sided centre-back to fit into Arne Slot‘s preferred system.

During his time at Feyenoord, Slot would typically build up with his right-back inverting into midfield and the left-back joining his two starting centre-backs as a three-man unit.

READ: Arne Slot tactics: Feyenoord system and how Liverpool FC could set up

It is easy to see how that would translate, with Trent Alexander-Arnold maintaining his hybrid right-back role and a new arrival like Calafiori as the left-sider, joining Van Dijk and one of Jarell Quansah or Ibrahima Konate.

Liverpool have been also been touted with a move for Crystal Palace‘s Marc Guehi, who could perform a similar role, while there is long-standing interest in Chelsea‘s Levi Colwill.

2X5BNX5 LILLE - Leny Yoro of Lille OSC during the French Ligue 1 match between Lille OSC and Olympique Lyonnais at Pierre-Mauroy Stadium on May 6, 2023 in Lille, France. ANP | Hollandse Hoogte | Gerrit van Keulen

And with the pursuit of Lille’s Leny Yoro – a natural right-sider – described by The Athletic‘s David Ornstein as a “unique market opportunity rather than a fundamental part of their recruitment plans,” that would suggest any other move would be separate.

For now, the likelihood is that Calafiori should be considered on a shortlist of possible targets, rather than the No. 1 option.

But claims of interest from Anfield are certainly feasible, with the Italian presenting a strong fit for the role that seems to be opening up in the squad.