Liverpool can pull off perfect swap deal to provide missing piece for Arne Slot

Arne Slot is plotting how Liverpool can improve their squad this summer (Image: GETTY)

Liverpool may have the chance to pull off a handy swap deal that would help fill a void for Arne Slot this summer. After Joel Matip’s departure on a free transfer, the Reds are without a left-footed centre-back despite boasting some high-quality options in central defence.

All of their main four options – Virgil van Dijk, Ibrahima Konate, Joe Gomez and Jarell Quansah – are right footers. Chelsea’s Levi Colwill was a transfer target last summer before he signed a new contract at Stamford Bridge.

Liverpool opted against pursuing an alternative but 12 months on, a player who has caught the eye at Euro 2024 might now be the solution they need. That man is Riccardo Calafiori.

He helped Bologna finish fifth and qualify for the Champions League and he’s since played every minute of Italy’s Euros campaign in Germany. He provided the assist for Mattia Zaccagni’s crucial late equaliser against Croatia on Monday.

That follows up on a Serie A campaign in which he provided two goals and five assists from centre-back and left-back. Calafiori was deployed as the left-sided centre-half in a back three for Gli Azzurri against Croatia. In the previous two games in Germany he was in the same position but in a back four.

The 22-year-old can also comfortably play as a full-back and unsurprisingly is on the radar of a few clubs including Juventus.

Liverpool are among the admirers of the Bologna man whose player profile combined with his versatility, age and price range make him a perfect target in a problem position.

Both Corriere di Bologna and The Athletic have name-dropped Calafiori as an option for Liverpool and it has been suggested his asking price is around £40million or so. He only joined 12 months ago from Basel, who will receive 40 per cent of the fee any club pay for the Italian over £5m.

Riccardo Calafiori has impressed for Italy at Euro 2024 (Image: GETTY)

But it is understood Bologna are keeping tabs on Liverpool’s Sepp van den Berg as an option to replace Calafiori, per the Daily Mail. The Reds value the wantaway Dutchman at around £20m.

And so sending the 22-year-old to Italy for Calafiori, plus some cash on top, could be a wise deal on both sides. Van den Berg plays at centre-back and right-back but impressed on loan in Germany for Mainz last year.

The Netherlands youth international has already made it clear he sees his future away from Anfield despite Arne Slot’s arrival. While he might prefer a permanent stay in Germany, Bologna can offer him his first taste of Champions League football.

Just as Liverpool can for Calafiori, who has previously expressed a desire to play for Chelsea or West Ham. The Reds would be hopeful of selling their project to the defender as Slot looks to continue Jurgen Klopp’s good work.

If they could, he would be a very handy signing for the new manager given Andy Robertson’s advancing age and the dearth of left-footed centre-halves at the club.

And the No.33 shirt Calafiori wore at both Bologna and Basel is already ready and waiting for the player on Merseyside.