Real Madrid need to bolster their defensive corps this summer, and Riccardo Calafiori is emerging as a serious option.

With the likely imminent departures of Rafa Marin and Nacho, Los Blancos will have only three senior central defenders. These would be Antonio Rudiger, Eder Militao, and David Alaba.

The problem is exacerbated since the team is short-handed at the back due to Alaba’s ongoing recuperation from an ACL rupture.

In their quest to strengthen their defense, Real Madrid have identified Leny Yoro as their primary target. However, negotiations with Lille have hit a snag due to a significant difference in the valuation of the player.

This impasse has forced the club’s sporting department to explore alternative options, one of which is Riccardo Calafiori.

Calafiori, a 22-year-old defender who had an impressive season with Bologna in 2023-24, has emerged as a potential candidate.

His performances have not gone unnoticed, attracting interest from several clubs. Yet, per Sport, Los Blancos could potentially outbid other suitors, making them the favorites to secure his signature.

Versatile asset for Real Madrid?

Calafiori fits perfectly within Real Madrid’s transfer policy, which focuses on acquiring young and talented players. The 22-year-old Italian is not only affordable but also brings the added advantage of being left-footed.

With Alaba as the only other left-footed defender in the squad, Calafiori’s inclusion would provide much-needed balance to Carlo Ancelotti’s defense.

Last season, the Italian made 37 appearances for Bologna, scoring two goals and providing five assists. Whoscored says his defensive stats are commendable, averaging 1.6 tackles, 1.7 interceptions, and 2.5 clearances per 90 minutes in Serie A.

Calafiori was pivotal in Bologna qualifying for the Champions League
Calafiori was pivotal in Bologna qualifying for the Champions League

Calafiori was pivotal in Bologna qualifying for the Champions League

Furthermore, his pass completion rate stands at an impressive 89.8%, underscoring his ability to distribute the ball effectively from the back. His versatility allows him to operate as a central defender, left-back, or even a left-sided wide player, making him a valuable addition to any squad.

Madrid’s financial muscle positions them favorably to meet Calafiori’s market value, which is reportedly around $32 million. This is significantly lower than the potential cost of signing Leny Yoro.

However, the player’s current contract with Bologna runs until the summer of 2027, which could complicate negotiations. The ‘Rossoblu’ are likely to demand a high transfer fee, especially given their aspirations for a successful UEFA Champions League campaign.

Real Madrid have an edge over Calafiori competition

Adding Calafiori to their roster would not only address Carlo Ancelotti’s immediate defensive needs but also serve as a long-term investment. At 22, he has the potential to develop into a top-class player, and the Whites’ track record of nurturing young talent could accelerate his growth.

His presence would provide depth and quality to Ancelotti’s squad, ensuring they remain competitive across all competitions.

But the La Liga champions are not the only club vying for Calafiori’s signature, as per Tuttosport. Juventus have also expressed a strong interest in the young defender. The Bianconeri see him as a perfect candidate to follow Thiago Motta to the Allianz Stadium.

However, Bologna’s high asking price may prove to be a stumbling block for the Bianconeri; whereas Real Madrid’s financial prowess makes them more capable of meeting these demands.

Photo credits: IMAGO / Goal Sports Images : IMAGO / Gribaudi/ImagePhoto