For all the talent within Manchester City’s ranks Pep Guardiola felt the need to acquire new players during the recently concluded transfer window, one of whom was Algerian winger Riyad Mahrez who’s displays for Leicester City over the past few years warranted a move to a club of City’s calibre.
Another one of Guardiola’s prime targets was Napoli midfield maestro Jorginho, who’s sublime displays in Maurizio Sarri’s Napoli made him one of the most highly-rated midfielders on the European football scene and the subject of multiple bids from City.
“He always plays through the middle, with one-metre passes. It’s difficult to keep him back and intercept his play. He tires you out because he distributes the ball very quickly yet remains practically stationary. You must have a lot of energy to keep him behind the ball and defuse his intentions. He can be difficult to face” said Radja Naingollan, one of Europe’s best midfield enforcers, after naming Jorginho as his most difficult opponent on the pitch.
Luckily for Chelsea fans, Jorginho opted for a move to Stamford Bridge despite Guardiola’s keenness on making him part of his silky-smooth Manchester City side.
Maurizzio Sarri’s move to the London outfit certainly played a role in the Italy international’s decision to ignore Manchester City’s attempts to sign him considering the fact that Chelsea are absent from this season’s Champions League competition, and participation in Europe’s elite cup competition is usually a big factor for top players looking to switch clubs.
Since joining Chelsea, Jorginho has effectively performed the role he was acquired for as evidenced by his side’s points tally. He’s deployed as a deep-lying playmaker but evidently has a license to move further up the pitch should certain plays demand it. He starts attacks off from deep, often searching for the right option in midfield in a bid for Chelsea to find a good route into their opponent’s half of the pitch.
Jorginho also looks to pick out players further up the pitch when such an opportunity presents itself, making the ball segue with relative ease. He has been instrumental in Chelsea’s perfect start to the 2017/18 season, making key passes, intercepting the ball and dictating the tempo of games.
He managed to bag a goal on his Premier League debut against Huddersfield, albeit from the penalty spot – but the confidence and fearlessness to strike the ball so cleanly is testament of the composure and calmness he brings to Chelsea’s midfield.
Such is his equanimity that he doesn’t dive into tackles often, he much rather prefers to asses the situation and set himself up for an interception He is yet to register an assist for the Blue, due in large part to his role on the pitch – he often finds himself at the start of attacking moves, hence; someone else is almost always going to be the one to play the final pass which ultimately counts as the assist.
Four games into the season and Jorginho already tops the individual chart for the most successful passes in the Premier League with a tally of 417 successful passes in a list dominated by defenders who are often able to pass the ball sideways to an open player deep within their own half without having to deal with constant pressure all the time. He currently averages 104.25 passes per game with a 92.1% pass success rate.
His presence in the middle of the park allows Chelsea to execute Maurizio Sarri’s tactical advocacy excellently, with the ball being distributed from midfield non-stop with the right speed, right weight and superb accuracy making it difficult for opposing team’s to half Chelsea’s fluidity with the ball.
From his first few games of the season, Jorginho has shown the Premier League why he’s widely regarded as the heir to Andrea Pirlo’s throne. His style of play is markedly similar to the Italian football legend and his effectiveness in utilising that style in a regista role on the pitch is on par with the Juventus icon.
Jorginho has quickly established himself as an indispensable member of Chelsea’s first team set-up as a result of his exquisite performances and from the looks of it his influence is likely to grow once the Blue’s Europa League campaign fully commences. Maurizio Sarri is certainly happy he was able to bring the 26-year-old to Stamford Bridge with him after a great run in Naples – it remains to be seen, though, if Jorginho’s brilliance will be enough to keep Chelsea firing on all cylinders until the end of the season.
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