Transfer Analysis: Taking a closer look at Chelsea new boy Jorginho
Chelsea supporters have been having a blast over the last few weeks. The London club made a double swoop, raiding Italian club Napoli for manager Maurizio Sarri, who brought midfielder Jorginho with him; their first summer signing. The deal was negotiated for a fee around £51m on a five-year contract. It looked as though the 26-year-old was on the verge of joining Manchester City, but working with his old Serie A boss must've been too good to turn down.
Jorginho is a Verona academy graduate, joining the club aged just fifteen. He was sent to Serie C2 side AC Sambonifacese on loan in 2010. That's where his stock began to rise. As an 18-year-old, getting those regular minutes under his belt proved vital for his footballing development.
Due to his impressive performance with Sambonifacese, he was made the regular starter for Verona in the 2011-12 campaign. In the season following, his responsibilities exceeded due to injuries decimating Verona's squad while fighting for promotion. Jorginho was key to promotion that year, while also featuring for the Italy youth teams at international level.
Clubs, particularly in the Serie A, were queuing up to sign the up-and-coming Jorginho. The player resisted. Until Napoli came calling preceding the 2013/14 campaign. It was an offer too good to turn down.
He fitted into the team brilliantly, with Napoli looking a far better side when he was on the field. He instantly won the Coppa Italia, scoring the winner against Roma in the semi-finals. However, he was never allowed a regular, first-choice starting berth. Under Rafael Benitez, he fell down the pecking order behind David Lopez and Walter Gargano. The unhappiness grew, rumours surfaced, suggesting that he is expected to leave the club in January. Two years under the Spaniard was tough, but the midfielder stuck it out, now, he's reaping the rewards.
That next summer, Sarri arrived in Naples. Their mutual relationship helped everyone; player, manager and club. Napoli began to challenge for titles. Jorginho's stock continued to rise, as did his manager's. Over their time, the midfielder became the most efficient passer in the Serie A.
Style of play
Jorginho is a perfect regista. He sits ahead of the backline, connecting defence to midfield. A deep-lying playmaker, he either carries the ball from deep or can play those long, raking passes that can carve open his opponents. He also likes to play short passes between the centre-backs which help to nullify the forward line press. The Italian completed more passes than anyone in 2017-18 in top five leagues of Europe, averaging a pass every 50 seconds. Representing the Italian national team, Jorginho has been considered as a successor to Andrea Pirlo's throne.
The midfielders ability to read the game is immense. Jorginho's heavy involvement in the engine room enables him to make a sudden, yet constant impact. He is not a goal-scoring, nor pacy midfielder, but a more intelligent one, conserving energy, then using it wisely. Averaging 4 tackles and interceptions per 90, he has not got a physique like Nemanja Matic but knows how to stop attacks in the middle of the park; before initiating counters.
Jorginho's movement and position when Napoli pressed higher prevented the defensive line from getting isolated and vulnerable. Napoli played possession-based football, which is more suited to midfielders like Jorginho. Under the same manager, his progression should continue at Chelsea.
He has no major weakness apart from a decent aesthetic. Statistically, it takes him more than two games to win an aerial duel. In the Premier League, this may well be exposed; particularly when Chelsea go up against the more physical sides, like Manchester United, for example.
How would he fit at Chelsea?
Chelsea have been somewhat inactive in this year's transfer window. But, they have enough depth in their squad to make an impact next season, even if they sign no further players before Thursday's deadline.
Both Sarri and Jorginho complemented each other perfectly during the last three seasons at Napoli, probably guaranteeing the midfielder a starting position next season. Sarri preferred a 4-3-3 during his time in Italy. He can apply the same with Chelsea. Jorginho can be deployed as a deep-lying playmaker helping in both defensive and offensive manner in a three-man midfield, alongside Tiemoue Bakayoko as the box-to-box midfielder and N'Golo Kante as an advanced midfielder, despite possessing defensive capabilities.
If Antonio Conte would have been at Stamford Bridge, Jorginho's exceptional ball-playing skills would likely have wasted. But fortunately, under Sarri, he will be at the front of the queue, ahead of the likes of Cesc Fabregas, Ross Barkley and Danny Drinkwater. All of the aforementioned players would not fit into Sarri's system, hence why his transfer was sanctioned.
With Michael Carrick retiring as a player, instead deciding to pick up the clipboard, Jorginho can be the next 'regista' that the Premier League can boast about.