Arsenal have signed Chelsea midfielder Jorginho. The deal is worth a reported £10m fee, with £2m in add-ons. With Chelsea’s blessing, the player and his agent, João Santos, travelled to London Colney on Deadline Day to complete the move. Jorginho has signed a 1.5-year contract with the option for another year. The player will wear the number 20 shirt, last worn by the on-loan Nuno Tavares.
It marks the end of a protracted and stressful January transfer window. Chelsea had previously beaten Arsenal to the signings of both Mykhailo Mudryk and João Félix earlier in the window and are thought to be potential competitors for the signature of Declan Rice in the summer.
Arsenal had spent the last few days of the window trying to bring in Moisés Caicedo from Brighton. Though Arsenal lodged two bids for the Ecuadorian midfielder, they were ultimately unsuccessful.
Mikel Arteta’s admiration for Jorginho is thought to have been the driving force behind a deal. However, Chelsea’s decision to let the Italian midfielder leave before confirming a deal for Benfica’s Enzo Fernández, could prove to be a misstep from Chelsea’s new owners.
Jorginho has, thus far, struggled for game time under Graham Potter. Potter has preferred to use the midfield trio of Mateo Kovačić, Denis Zakaria and Mason Mount, with Jorginho often resigned to the bench.
Jorginho originally started his career at Italian side Hellas Verona. Whiel there, he impressed across some 96 games for the club, including a loan to Sambonifacese.
After impressing in Verona, Jorginho joined Serie A side Napoli. While at Napoli, Jorginho benefitted hugely from the leadership of Maurizio Sarri, who effectively transformed the Italian’s career.
Under Sarri’s tutelage, Jorginho was transformed into a “regista” in Napoli’s system. As a regista, Jorginho operated as a mixture of a defensive-midfielder and deep-lying playmaker, capable of breaking the defensive lines through his constant passing ability.
When Sarri swapped Naples for West London, he brought Jorginho with him. Though Manchester City had been keen on signing Jorginho, Chelsea struck a £57m fee with Napoli to bring him to the club.
Jorginho’s time at Chelsea has been a mixed affair.
Despite multiple trophies with the club, there has often been a feeling that Jorginho has not been fully appreciated for his role. After Sarri’s departure, Jorginho was effectively moulded into an Ngolo Kanté replacement and he struggled to assert himself in the side.
However, his performances at international level have proven to be decidedly more consistent. He missed his penalty in the EUROs final against England, but Italy still walked away with the trophy, with Jorginho’s defensive work being credited as key to Italy’s triumph.
So why have Arsenal moved for the Brazilian-born Italian midfielder?
Arsenal have needed a defensive midfielder for some time. Thomas Partey is the preferred candidate to start matches, however, the player’s somewhat patchy injury record, means that Arsenal cannot be too reliant on the player.
At the moment, Arsenal’s only defensive midfield cover are the forms of Mohamed Elneny and Albert Sambi Lokonga. Elneny has recently sustained what looks to be a season-ending injury and Lokonga has, so far, disappointed.
Jorginho has been brought in to offer back-up in the position.
The signing of Jorginho closes the book on Arsenal’s January transfer window. Jorginho is the third player to join the club this January, following the arrivals of Leandro Trossard from Brighton and Jakub Kiwior from Spezia.
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