Arsenal sign Jorginho from Chelsea
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Arsenal signing Jorginho has landed manager Mikel Arteta with a number of positives, although the Italian’s shortfalls do pose problems that need to be dealt with. Those same issues would be unlikely to spring up with either Moises Caicedo or Declan Rice, who were both strongly linked to the Emirates in recent weeks.
The Gunners turned their attention to Jorginho in the dying embers of the January transfer window after seeing two big-money bids knocked back for Caicedo. The new recruit has an accomplished CV with a Champions League triumph and a Euro 2020 title among his accolades.
Passing regularly, accurately and progressively are all major positives that come with the 31-year-old, not to mention a solid defensive output that sees him rack up almost three tackles per game. In fact, statistics suggest that Jorginho is a better passer and tackler than Arsenal’s current midfield anchor, Thomas Partey.
Where he lacks, however, is in athleticism. The former Chelsea maestro is known for operating intelligently rather than intensely, which leaves Arteta with a problem to solve.
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While playing just one deep-lying midfielder, Jorginho’s lack of athletic flair means that he needs mobility around him to avoid Arsenal becoming vulnerable at the back. Centre-backs William Saliba and Gabriel Magalhaes have both been superb this season but Partey’s performances have played a large part in the Gunners’ success.
The Ghanaian is able to put the burners on when required, with neither Granit Xhaka nor Martin Odegaard either side of him particularly fast. Putting Jorginho in Partey’s place, whether due to injury or any other reason, would create a midfield trio with a defined weak point.
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Painfully for Arsenal, signing Rice or Caicedo wouldn’t have introduced the same problem. West Ham captain Rice takes a while to accelerate but he is certainly a powerful runner, and a willing one that rarely goes missing in games due to a desire to be involved at both ends of the pitch.
Energy is a key trait for Brighton youngster Caicedo, too, who would only have added athleticism to Arteta’s midfield rather than taken away. Rice was never likely to sign before the end of this season but the Gunners went all out for Caicedo in January, although they backed off when their last bid of £70million was rejected immediately by the Seagulls.
Jorginho eventually came in on deadline day as a player who is set to slot in as fourth choice behind the starting three, whereas the aforementioned duo would have been expected to challenge the existing pecking order. At £12m, he is not a particularly big risk for the Gunners and Arteta has already talked up the experience he will bring to the dressing room.
“Jorginho is a midfield player with intelligence, deep leadership skills and a huge amount of Premier League and international experience,” he told Arsenal’s official website. “Jorginho has won in his career, but he still has the hunger and huge willingness to contribute here. We are so pleased to sign Jorginho and welcome him and his family to the club.”
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