On the face of it, the Jorginho transfer is an odd one.
Arsenal’s recent signings have been young and dynamic.
He has struggled in a struggling Chelsea team. And whilst he has never been the most mobile, never been quick, he seems to be slowing down.
And at 31-years-old, he certainly does not fit the criteria of players Arsenal have recently recruited.
So why did Arsenal opt to sign him?
It comes down to Mikel Arteta. He has always liked Jorginho.
In 2018, Manchester City were expected to complete the signing of Jorginho. At the last minute Chelsea swept in to secure the Italian.
At the time, Pep Guardiola’s assistant was Arteta.
A couple of years ago, when Granit Xhaka was on the brink of leaving, Jorginho was top of Arteta’s list. In the end Xhaka stayed.
In a recent interview, Arteta spoke about any player coming to Arsenal this late in the window needed to be “ready to go straight away”.
They had to be Premier League ready, fit, and ready to start at Everton if needed. And the first choice for that was Moises Caicedo. We ended up with Jorginho.
Whilst he is the wrong profile in terms of age and dynamism, he does fit what Arteta needs now – someone who will not need to settle in.
Over 200 games in England, he will need no time to settle down. He will probably not move from his current abode. And I would imagine he already knows Arsenal’s Brazilian contingent on a social basis.
He is an Arteta type of player.
Fantastic on the ball, he thrives in a posession based system. He is also a leader and a winner.
It was only 15 months ago that he was named the 3rd best player in the world, finishing behind Lionel Messi and Robert Lewandowski in the Ballon d’Or.
The same year he was also named UEFA Player of the Year and was in both the UEFA Euro 2020 Team of the Tournament and UEFA Champions League Squad of the Season. He was also named in the FIFA FIFPro World11.
In 2021, he was key as Chelsea won the Champions League and Italy won the European Championships. That same year he was also part of the team that won the European Super Cup and World Club Cup.
When you look at his credentials, he could just be the winner to take Arsenal over the line.
It left a lot of fans mystified. But there is some solid theory behind it. And it is mainly Europe.
Midfield is where we lack depth.
Xhaka and Thomas Partey’s are fantastic. But there is not much behind them.
Mohamed Elneny is a solid professional but likely out for the season. Albert Sambi Lokonga has flattered to deceive. At the time of writing he is being linked with a loan move out of the club.
We have a maximum of 26 games left in the league and Europe. I expect us to continue the rotation policy in Europe.
But with no adequate cover for Xhaka and Partey, the squad situation meant they would both likely have to play in Europe.
Jorginho’s recruitment means that we can keep protecting Partey for the league. And then the choice is still there to play Lokonga (if he stays) instead of Xhaka.
When you realise Jorginho has been bought primarily for Europe, to allow us to rest Partey mid-week, then you understand his recruitment.
Yes, we all would have preferred Caicedo, Declan Rice or Martin Zubimendi. But those deals could not be done. I am sure we will go again for them in the summer.
The choice ended up being “no one or Jorginho”. And at £12m on a 1.5 year deal, the Italian-Brazilian does not take too much out of the pot for the summer.
Every game Jorginho plays is one less Partey has to. And protecting Partey is what wins us the League.
I don’t like Jorginho. I think he’s slow – and he make far too many mistakes. BIG ones. But if it is like you say, that he primarily is for Europe, then it’s okie.
I think Arsenal should give up Europe League and concentrate on EPL, This is a chance in a generation to win the most desirable titel of them all, the Premiership. They must go for it. And even if it doesn’t work out, atleast they can say: We really did try.
For me UCL is just number two.
Disagree with you about Jorginho, don’t think he slowed Chelsea down. Just think that Chelsea have too many players who want to come to the ball and haven’t had much threat in behind. Their two most dangerous attacking threats have been the two full backs and they’ve both been injured for most of the season. It’s no surprise they’ve started signing a more young and dynamic group of players during this window.
Jorginho is a player who can control the tempo of a game, he’ll have no problem keeping us ticking over, can see him feeding Xhaka Odegaard and the two wingers, no trouble at all. He’ll also be a really good option off the bench when you want to see a game out. The one slight concern would be when the opposition break our initial press, you wouldn’t want to see him get too isolated. We’ve been really good at getting players quickly back behind the ball this season when that happens but we’ll have to be even better with Jorginho in the side. He’s a player who does need bodies around him.
I definitely agree with you about the league though, to me it’s a much bigger prize than the UCL. I’d love to see The Arse win ol’ Big Ears before I die simply because we’ve never done it but I’d take the league over it all day long.
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