“Our ‘six’ must understand our game. It is vital.”
“He is the one that makes everyone work, the one that frees those in front, the one who finds superiority, the one who sets the pace.”
“I’m not talking about City, but in other teams that role is not as defined and we are losing the idea of having one who plays there – the Jorginho type, that I LOVE, or the Busquets type.”
Mikel Arteta has gone public with his admiration for Jorginho – these quotes date back to a summer 2019 interview he gave to Marca.
It was therefore not a surprise to see Arteta make a move for the player in his first summer transfer window as Arsenal manager. In 2020, Arsenal were keen on adding Jorginho to the squad but ultimately decided to recruit Thomas Partey, paying his £45m release clause on deadline day.
Two and half years later, Arsenal have found themselves in a title race with 50 points after 19 league games. Arteta has successfully rebuilt Arsenal from the pits of tragedy to a path of victory. With Mohamed Elneny ruled out with a long-term injury, the club were scrambling to find an alternative option to Thomas Partey.
Look, missing out on Caicedo is annoying. I get it. But Brighton simply didn’t want to sell. Not to us. Not to Chelsea. Reliable Brighton reporters I know told me there’s no chance he leaves for any price. Tony Bloom didn’t want to be bullied by agents and clamped his authority. Fair play to them, but summer could well be different. I am sure we will be ready to make a move then. For January however, the options are limited. Its the reality.
Then came the Jorginho links out of the blue, leading to mayhem on Arsenal Twitter. And before we knew it, a deal was agreed. Mikel Arteta finally got his man. A player he has admired for years together and tried to sign. For me, it is a very smart piece of business, here is why….
In football and in society, people look too much at the flaws of an individual. They’ll speak about Jorginho not being able to run and chase opposition. They’ll upload fail comps of the player’s worst moments to make him look bad. Trolls will turn you into a meme, totally ignoring what you can bring to the table. And believe me, Jorginho brings a lot.
To start off with, he brings you control. When Jorginho plays, you will keep the ball. He controls the tempo of games with his ability to receive the ball in tight spaces and turn pressure into ball progression. I remember a game we played against Chelsea in 2019, a match where we dominated the first 30 mins, leading 1-0 at the Emirates. Frank Lampard then brought Jorginho on and we hardly touched the ball for the rest of the match, going on to lose. Just have a look at this masterclass of a display from the deep-lying playmaker.
There aren’t many faults with our side, but if there’s one thing we have to improve this season, we need to slow down the tempo of games when needed. We need to manage games better, especially when we’re ahead. The aim should be to play IN BETWEEN that gear of negativity and playing at 5000 miles per hour. Jorginho is a very intelligent player in this regard. He will aid us in keeping the ball better and seeing games out.
The masses look at Jorginho and wrongly mistake him to be a player who does not do much on a football pitch. But he actually does a lot, without making it seem that way. And that is an art. He never hides. I remember Newcastle (A) last season. Mo Elneny was in hiding as Newcastle mustered a ferocious high press in our half. Jorginho is not like that. He’s always available, ready to receive the ball under pressure and make the team play. His character is backed up by his ability.
People make it look like he’s a slouch defensively, you could not be more wrong. Yes, he’s not going to chase down Antony the way Thomas Partey did, but what Jorginho brings, is incredible positional awareness. What he lacks in physicality, he makes it up with his tactical intelligence and understanding of where to be. In some ways, he reminds me of 2012 Mikel Arteta, who was statistically one of the best anchormen in the league that season along with Michael Carrick. These players always go under the radar – you only notice them when they aren’t in your starting 11.
This Arsenal team is growing, but still young – we need players who have overcome adversity to win the biggest trophies. Jorginho has won the Champions league, Europa league, and the Euros, along with domestic trophies in Italy. In addition to that, he was also named the UEFA Men’s player of the year for the 2020/21 season and made it to the FIFPro World 11 in 2021. He will provide added leadership to help this young side over the line. Any other player who has been a regular starter and achieves this much would be highly respected by the masses.
But because Jorginho can’t run, he is always on the end of the trolls. They think irrationally. Look at the whole picture. See how every coach he’s played under has rated him highly. If Pep Guardiola is willing to pay a £60m+ fee for you to play as the midfield anchor, then you must be good. Jorginho isn’t in decline, not at least for now. His game has never relied on pace and athleticism, but more on his technique and intelligence – that will not disappear overnight.
His injury record is exceptional. If there’s one red flag about Thomas Partey, it’s his lack of availability at times. Jorginho is the exact opposite of that. He has picked up just ONE injury since the 2015/16 season which saw him miss only 7 days of action. In his 13-year career, Jorginho has only been unavailable for 5 matches and one of them was due to a fever. He is reliable.
Fans need to cut the agendas and look at the reality. The fee isn’t excessive. £10m + £2m in add-ons is nothing. A 1.5-year contract with the option for an additional year is very reasonable. We need someone who can come in and impact straightaway – he’s been in the Premier league since 2018 and has won the Europa league, a competition we’re literally playing in. Overall, Jorginho ticks most boxes and is a really good bridge option for the short term.
In the summer, with Champions League football secured, Arsenal are going to go big to buy a midfielder. I believe that we will end up getting Rice/Caicedo and Jorginho will then be gradually phased out. For the time being, in January, in this inflated market where clubs want to keep hold of their star players – Arsenal and Arteta saw an opportunity pop up and grabbed it with both hands. I strongly believe he will prove to be a fantastic addition – let’s get behind him. Welcome to Arsenal, Jorginho!