Arsenal pulled off a surprise transfer by signing midfielder Jorginho in the January transfer window. The Italian arrives from fellow London club Chelsea for a fee of £12m. The Gunners were originally targeting Brighton & Hove Albion midfielder Moises Caicedo. Ultimately, the transfer failed to materialise due to the hefty price tag levied on the player.
Jorginho made his debut for the North London side in the 1-0 loss against Everton. The 2020 Euro winner came on as a substitute, donning the “20” jersey. He put in a calm performance but failed to inspire Mikel Arteta’s men for a turnaround.
Jorginho came through the youth ranks of Serie A side Hellas Verona. He spent the 2010-11 season on loan with Italian side Sambonifacese in the second division. After making 31 appearances, the midfielder returned to his parent club.
In 3 seasons, the 31-year-old made 89 league appearances for Verona. His impressive performances earned him a move to SSC Napoli. He became an integral part of the Gli Azzurri midfield. In particular, the Italian thrived as the defensive midfielder in Maurizio Sarri’s 4-3-3 set-up. After making 160 appearances for Napoli across all competitions in 5 years, Jorginho followed Sarri to Chelsea.
Welcome to The Arsenal, Jorginho 👊 pic.twitter.com/jHXqAUBKKQ
— Arsenal (@Arsenal) January 31, 2023
Although his boss lasted only one season at Stamford Bridge, the midfielder became a very important part of the Chelsea team for several seasons. The 31-year-old thrived as a lone pivot in a midfield three, in a double pivot, and even ahead of a back-3. He played 213 games for the Blues, scoring 29 times and creating 8 goals (stats via Transfermarkt).
Since making his debut in 2016, Jorginho has turned out for the Italian National Team 46 times. The defensive midfielder was part of the national side that finished third in the 2020-21 UEFA Nations League, and the side that lifted the Euros in 2021.
Jorginho: Player Profile
Jorginho’s best position is the holding midfield position. The 31-year-old midfielder is generally deployed in such a role, just ahead of the centre-backs and behind two interiors. This is not too different from Thomas Partey’s role in Arteta’s system.
However, the former Chelsea man is more influential in the first two phases of play. Jorginho often drops between the centre-backs to provide his team with an extra man in the build-up. In the middle of the park, he often positions himself between the lines of play. This allows the interiors to push higher up without trading off defensive stability.
The 2021 Champions League winner rarely takes on a man and beats him on the dribble. Instead, the Italian is adept at inviting pressure and dodging his marker with a few deft touches and sharp turns.
💙💙Reason why I will miss Jorginho and will choose him as the Best DLP have ever seen after Pirlo.💙💙 pic.twitter.com/lBg3Mxip0L
— Chelsea Prynx ⭐⭐ (@prynx_chelsea) February 3, 2023
Similarly, his passing is also effective, but not spectacular. While Jorginho has the pin-point through ball or passes over-the-top in his artillery, his best plays involve bringing teammates into play by making well-timed and well-weighted passes.
Defensively, the 31-year-old relies on a smart reading of the game to position himself in the right areas. Jorginho is an astute tackler and very difficult to dribble past. However, he struggles when he is tasked with covering a large amount of space.
Arsenal have a natural solution to this problem by the way that Arteta uses inverted full-backs. With Oleksandr Zinchenko coming in narrower and Ben White remaining deeper, the Gunners naturally adopt a great rest-defence structure. This would help to protect the backline against counter-attacks and hide Jorginho’s deficiencies.
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Jorginho comes in as competition for Thomas Partey in the Arsenal midfield. The Ghanaian international has had little cover in recent seasons. The signings of Jakub Kiwior and Jorginho have now added some steel to Arsenal’s midfield.
The Italian brings a slightly different interpretation of the CDM role to Arteta’s side. The midfielder definitely has the quality and experience to thrive in the Gunners environment and dislodge Partey from a starting role. It will be interesting to see if the 31-year-old can cement a place in the first XI.
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