What a Calafiori story: the no to Cremonese, Basel, Vogel and Milan’s doubts. Then the exploit

When Riccardo Calafiori moved to Basel two years ago, he did it reluctantly, he did it because he had no alternative. In those weeks, we are talking about the summer of 2022, in Italy only two clubs were interested in his performances: Salernitana and Cremonese. Above all, the Grigiorossi had come forward with a convincing proposal for the Giallorossi in July but the full-back born in 2002, who didn’t know he was central at the time, refused. There was still some time and he preferred to wait for a more ambitious Italian club.
Nothing better came in the following days: the five months at Genoa under the orders of the German Alexander Blessin had further reduced thehype around his name. They were failures: a few games played badly in a team incapable of scoring which ended the championship in penultimate place, with a historic relegation.
After the no to Cremonese, and with Salernitana having already slipped away, nothing more concrete arrived for Calafiori. Only Basel, who had actually been the first to move and held the point until the end. Until August 31st. Calafiori didn’t want to go to Switzerland, but the alternative was to spend a season at Roma between the bench and the stands: “The choice of Basel wasn’t mine, I was almost forced because it was the only team left. But I immediately changed my mind because there I was able to play with continuity and without pressure”, he said a few days ago.

Calafiori arrived in Basel in a bad state. He still had a small muscle problem that he had to treat for another good month and his debut only came on October 9th against Lugano in the role we all knew him in, that of left back. Once the injury has recovered, Calafiori is practically always on the pitch: Alexander Frei plays with a back four and in that 4-4-2 he plays on the left wing.
After all, that was his role: for everyone, but not for Heiko Vogel. The German coach arrives in Basel mid-season in place of Frei and changes formation, switching to a three-man defence. And in that 3-5-2, the Roman player does not play the role of full-back like at Genoa, but specializes as a left-winger.

It is the reason why Giovanni Sartori will purchase it the following summer. Everyone thinks it is to give an additional alternative to Lykogiannis and Kristiansen, in reality it is to deploy him centrally. Here too, however, we are not talking about a first choice. Like a year earlier, Calafiori only moved on August 31st after many negotiations at Bologna had fallen through. In truth, not even Bologna was the player’s first choice: for a long time he had hoped and negotiated with Milan, a team that had said it needed an assistant Theo Hernandez, but then didn’t take him even after Ballo-Touré’s exit.

Calafiori was purchased by Bologna on 31 August 2023 for four million euros. Basel, who had taken him from Roma a year earlier for 1.5 million, are granted 40% of the future resale. Which is the same percentage that the Swiss club had agreed with the Giallorossi in 2022. When Calafiori moves to Bologna, Roma receives an additional 1.6 million euros which, added to what was collected on the previous 31 August, makes 3.1 million euros. In retrospect, a glaring mistake.

Calafiori’s last season is well known history. Thiago Motta immediately sees him as a central player even in a four-man defense. He makes him responsible, gives him the ball in the setting phase and transforms him into the personality defender that we all know. Today Bologna values ​​him at at least 40 million euros and perhaps not even enough: “I have communicated to his agent that he is not moving this summer”, said Fenucci during Vincenzo Italiano’s presentation. But Juventus will continue to try, it is a priority request from that coach who a year ago was able to enhance his skills, thus giving Spalletti a national team centre-back. It didn’t take him long to understand what the coach is also made of: he called him up for the first time for this European Championship and tonight he will launch him from the first minute in the debut match against Albania.