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Jorginho transfer to Arsenal: how will he fit into Arteta’s system?

Jorginho transfer to Arsenal: how will he fit into Arteta’s system?

Mikel Arteta was clear heading into the final week of the transfer window: “We need more cover in midfield, ideally if we can. It’s quite difficult to do that in this market.”

They have been chasing the 21-year-old from Brighton and Hove Albion Moses Kaysedabut it did not bear fruit.

Instead Arsenal turned to Jorginhowho is ten years older than his London rivals Chelsea.

Arteta has been interested before Jorginho during the summer of 2020, but the sudden departure in this January transfer window for the Italy international raises some questions.

Similar to Jack’s granite in Arsenal — before his revival under Arteta this season — Jorginho has polarized opinion in his four-and-a-half years at Chelsea.

He has been emblematic of Maurizio Sarri’s 4-3-3 plan, having moved with the manager from Napoli in the 2018-19 pre-season to play in a deep-lying No. 6 role at Stamford Bridge. As managers have come and gone since then, Jorginho has survived for the most part as a member of the squad, with his strengths and weaknesses on full display.

But where will he fit across town at Arsenal?

Jorginho is a League of champions and European Championship a winner who excels on the ball, having a consistent impact on Chelsea’s attack in his four full seasons Major league the seasons are there.

His involvement in open runs ending in shots ranged from 5.2 to 5.5 per 90 minutes across those four Premier League campaigns, elite numbers that have established him as one of the division’s most effective deep-lying playmakers.

Since arriving in England, Jorginho has recorded four of the six highest assists by a player in a single Premier League game (max 180 vs West Ham at the start of that debut year in 2018-19), but his tally of just five assists in 143 top-flight appearances for Chelsea shows that – as you’d expect for a man in his position – it’s rare that any of of these passes was the last ball.

A defining figure in Chelsea’s midfield of late, he has been guilty of slowing down their play, but when dealing with the game ahead of him, he tends to have the awareness and willingness to play a forward pass.

If the ball lands at his feet, e.g. Tottenham Hotspur brought into defensive shape.

He takes one touch to control and the next to play the ball in behind Matt Doherty for Mason Mount to pursue

Touch Mount let him down this time, but those are the types of passes that count for an Arsenal player.

One of the main frustrations with the play of Mikel Arteta’s second-string midfielder is the lack of purpose and individuality in their passing compared to what happens with Thomas Partey, Martin Odegaard and Jako on the field. Last FA Cup match against Oxford was an example of the domino effect that results when a game against third division opposition moves too quickly into transition.

Given that Arsenal have opted for a 4-3-3 formation throughout the year, Jorginho is likely to provide cover for Partey in that No. 6 role.

His prowess on the ball will serve him well in deep areas, but when Arsenal are in the opposition third, he can offer other solutions.

Instead of hitting the net, the Brazilian native, who has 46 caps Italy the international team tends to make the first passes to teammates when they face a low block, as in this example vs. Brentford:

Arsenal’s wide players can benefit if he continues to play these kinds of passes now that he is in north London rather than the west.

He wasn’t signed as a first choice or long-term option; cameo roles may be more likely. However, his awareness and ability to move the ball quickly should help Arsenal take matches to the end.

However, the structure around Jorginho will be key.

Thomas Tuchel used a 3-4-2-1 formation during his time as Chelsea manager, which was designed in part to minimize Jorginho’s weaknesses, giving him a more athletic midfield partner in any N’Golo Kante is the best of N’Golo Kante or Matthew Kovacic.

Jorginho’s lack of athleticism as a first-ball forward, in a single or double center, sometimes makes him an easy target for pressing, as was the case against Spurs last season.

Here he runs towards his goal and demands the ball from the goalkeeper Oryzabala’s cap during tracking.

Harry Winks reminds Jorginho to grab him as soon as he receives a pass.

As a result, Tottenham have excellent chances in attack, but it is not Harry Kane it is a yard offside if Lucas Moreau trying to play along with him.

Such situations – losing the ball in dangerous areas and not having the recovery speed to repair the damage – have hurt Jorginho and his team over the years.

Arsenal’s set-up this season should help him more when moments like these happen when he plays in red and white.

Aaron Ramsdale goes short both in open play and from shots on goal, for now Alexander Zinchenko drifting inside from left-back to offer another passing option is a trick that teams are still struggling to tackle as we enter the second half of his debut season at the club.

If the players are higher, the players are placed in this way the opposite winger covers the number 6 and then the pace of recovery of central defenders William Saliba and Gabriel Magallias often extinguishes counterattacks.

Arsenal have laid a solid foundation for what they hope will be a four-month title challenge.

Failing to chase a key target in the heart of Caicedo’s midfield will be frustrating, but they have at least not repeated their misguided inaction last January.

Jorginho arrived not to displace anyone in their first midfield, but to provide much-needed cover.

He’s not a perfect fit as he doesn’t have the athleticism to work alongside his undoubted technical ability, but he has qualities that could help Arsenal in the short term.

Overall, they have strengthened the team in the areas where they are needed — the front three, central midfield and left center back — and they end the month with a stronger bench than when they started.

That’s where Jorginho fits in.

(Additional reporting by Duncan Alexander)

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