There was something quite nomadic about Jorginho’s early career.
Born in the southern Brazilian city of Imbituba, he moved to Italy at the age of 15 to join the Hellas Verona academy. Just as their first team was within reach, he spent a season on loan with AC Sambonifacese.
He eventually cut his teeth in Serie B before Napoli took a punt on him in the big time. Maurizio Sarri was the coach who propelled Jorginho to even greater heights, basing his entire playing philosophy on the metronomic defensive midfielder.
It was Jorginho’s terrible backpass to goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga that cost Chelsea in their Premier League defeat to Arsenal on Wednesday night.
But it was a rare judgment error for the Italian international midfielder in a blue shirt
Thomas Tuchel has come to appreciate Jorginho’s qualities as much as his predecessors
Jorginho was so important to ‘Sarri-ball’ that Chelsea paid £ 50 million to sign him the same day the manager was installed at Stamford Bridge.
Sarri soon came and left the club and there were many questions whether Jorginho would have a place among anyone else.
So for the 29-year-old to declare two years later that Chelsea ‘feels like home’, after one of the more twisty and uncertain career paths, is quite pleasant.
“Of course I feel settled,” he said this week. “It feels great after three years, and I know everyone here appreciates what I’m trying to do for the club and for the people.
“So it feels like home in England now.”
After 137 appearances for Chelsea, Jorginho now has the opportunity to add even more medals to the Europa League success he achieved under Sarri in 2019.
Jorginho spoke this week about how he feels right at home at Stamford Bridge
Jorginho was so integral to Maurizio Sarri’s game plan that Chelsea spent £ 50 million bringing him to Napoli’s manager in the summer of 2018.
Saturday Leicester City (Wembley)
FA Cup final
May 18 Leicester City (H)
May 23 Aston Villa (A)
May 29 Manchester City (Istanbul)
Champions League Final
Thomas Tuchel’s side will face Leicester City in the FA Cup final on Saturday and Manchester City in the Champions League final in Porto on May 29.
It could be a spectacular end to yet another consistent campaign for Jorginho, despite the interim hiatus from Frank Lampard’s resignation and the arrival of Tuchel.
There was a rare blip in Chelsea’s unexpected home defeat to Arsenal on Wednesday night when Jorginho delivered a gruesome pass back to goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga, giving Emile Smith Rowe the lone goal of the game.
‘We more or less scored our own goal, a total donation. The rule is: pass the ball to Kepa’s right foot. This is the rule, ”Tuchel raged afterwards.
“It doesn’t matter if it’s in target or sideways, pass it on to Kepa.”
Jorginho has certainly taken the right foot rule to the limit, but we can expect him to be at Wembley on Saturday night despite Tuchel’s criticism.
The Italy international has fallen nicely in Tuchel’s ‘double-six’ pair of defensive midfielders, the ballast that allows Chelsea’s fullbacks to loot forward.
Jorginho, with his pleasure of long diagonal passes and ability to get the team’s engine ticking in midfield, has become as useful to Tuchel as it was to Sarri and Lampard.
Jorginho was a regular for Frank Lampard, despite being so closely associated with Sarri
He remains the man who keeps Chelsea ticking over with his passing in midfield
He is popular in Italy’s dressing room for playing the guitar and directing renditions of Wonderwall, but the drums are a better fit for the beat he keeps on the pitch.
It helps to have the tireless N’Golo Kante next to you to hit the hard yards. It didn’t work out so well with the young Billy Gilmour up there against Arsenal recently.
Jorginho also worked well with Mateo Kovacic during the early matches of Tuchel’s tenure, prior to the Croat’s injury, and so Chelsea certainly has options in midfield.
However, an error of judgment, like the one against Arsenal, remains a stick to beat Jorginho. There are plenty of Chelsea fans who are still unconvinced, despite regular starts for three managers.
Jorginho and N’Golo Kante team up to keep an eye on Porto’s Sergio Oliveira last month
Linking Jorginho with Mateo Kovacic is another option for Tuchel in Chelsea midfield
Many view Jorginho as slow or in the wrong position, or say that Kante’s industry makes him look better than he is.
The next rumor of ‘Jorginho back to Serie A’ is never far off and with Sarri still out of work since leaving Juventus last year, there is the inevitable thought that they will be reunited somewhere sooner rather than later.
But when it comes to getting Chelsea from the back, getting them out of a tight position or keeping them moving, they have no one better.
Tuchel quickly realized this and so Jorginho goes on to start all of Chelsea’s big games. There might be an upgrade if Tuchel gets a transfer cat in the summer, but for now he’s taking center stage in two cup finals.
“Two more steps to make our dreams come true,” as Jorginho put it this week. And if that doesn’t make you feel at home, nothing will.