Newcastle United have already identified £28m star as ‘game-changing’ Fabian Schar successor

Bologna defender Riccardo CalafioriBologna defender Riccardo Calafiori
Bologna defender Riccardo Calafiori
Riccardo Calafiori signed for Bologna last summer and is being linked with a Newcastle United move

Newcastle United are targeting a sensational summer swoop for Bologna defender Riccardo Calafiori, according to reports.

An Italian under-21 international, the 22-year-old emerged from Roma’s youth ranks before joining Basel two years ago. Just one season is all it took before Italian clubs were on high alert for Calafiori, who joined Bologna last summer.

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He continued his progression last season, helping i Rossoblu finish fifth in Serie A - their best campaign for 16 years. Bagging two goals and creating five more from centre-back is eye-catching and has put European heavyweights on high alert.

The position is a problem area for Eddie Howe as Sven Botman and Jamaal Lascelles are injured until the end of the year. Newcastle finished the season with Dan Burn and Fabian Schar as the only fit first-team options.

Toon chiefs plan on signing a centre-back, with NewcastleWorld understanding talks have taken place for Lloyd Kelly and Tosin Adarabioyo. Both players are available on free transfers once their contracts expire next month.

However, Bologna talent Calafiori would command a reported €30million (£25m) fee. TuttoJuve claim Newcastle, Tottenham Hotspur, Juventus and Bayer Leverkusen are keeping tabs on the situation.

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Newcastle are interested in signing a centre-back who can also deputise at left-back if needed. Calafiori fits the bill, as a left-footed player comfortable with playing out from defence.

Ironically, his playing style mirrors Fabian Schar, a fellow former Basel defender who he could end up replacing at St James’ Park. The question would be whether Calfiori could adapt to playing as the right-sided centre-back given Botman’s authority in the backline.

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