It’s taken a while for Chelsea’s summer business to get going, but after Maurizio Sarri finally arrived at Stamford Bridge, it looks like it is finally underway.
On the same day Sarri was announced as manager, Chelsea completed the deal to sign Jorginho from Napoli, in a move worth £57 million. It was the Blues’ first signing of the summer, but having missed out on Champions League football last season, they will be looking to make changes, and Jorginho is just the first.
But whoever comes in, they are unlikely to be as important a signing as the 26-year-old, who was clearly persuaded to make the move to London by Sarri, who has managed him at Napoli for the past three seasons. It looked for all the world like he would move to Manchester City, who agreed a deal to sign him a couple of weeks ago, only for Chelsea to steal in at the last moment.
It suggests the type of player he is, that Pep Guardiola was prepared to pay over £50 million for his signature. It also suggests the type of football that Chelsea will look to play under Sarri. Last season, particularly with Olivier Giroud up front, Chelsea were much more direct with Antonio Conte as manager.
However, Jorginho is a brilliant passer of the ball, and completed more passes in Europe’s top five leagues last season than anyone else. He completed 2860 passes in Serie A, at an accuracy approaching 90%. If he is the type of player Chelsea are looking to sign this summer, they will be playing a much slicker, attractive, passing style of football.
This is something that will suit how other Chelsea midfielders play. It looks unlikely that Sarri will continue with the 3-4-3 system, so 4-3-3 is the probable formation he will line up in. Jorginho will probably play at the base of the midfield three, and N’Golo Kante will take up one of the spots either side. The other side will likely be Cesc Fabregas. And with Jorginho and Kante both better suited to playing a little deeper, Fabregas will be able to get into the more advanced positions where he is more comfortable, and can better influence the game.
With that midfield, the likes of Eden Hazard and Willian will receive much better service in the attacking areas. Obviously, there are issues to be sorted out with the future of those two. Willian has been the subject of a couple of bids from Barcelona, while recent comments from Hazard suggest that he is looking for a route out of Stamford Bridge.
If those two leave this summer, and that certainly looks possible, whoever comes in will still get the chances in this Chelsea team. Jose Callejon, Dries Mertens and Lorenzo Insigne all had excellent campaigns last year at Napoli, and Sarri will be hoping for a similar result from his attacking players in the coming season.
Jorginho opens up these doors. He will be trustworthy as far as defensive responsibility is concerned, and he will see passes that others may not see to set them on their way attacking wise. He hasn’t played in England before, but he has experience, and his style of play fits the Premier League well.
There will be a lot more to come as far as Chelsea are concerned in this transfer window. Sarri will want to bring in players who suit his style of play. Jorginho won’t be the last, but he is probably the most important.Published 15 Jul 2018, 13:21 IST