Arsenal made the signing of a top-quality midfielder their number one priority this summer, and were linked with moves for Houssem Aouar of Lyon, Thomas Partey of Atletico Madrid, and Chelsea midfielder Jorginho.
Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta made no secret of his desire to sign a ball-playing midfielder to his ranks to support the likes of Pierre Emerick Aubameyang and Alexandre Lacazette, who had been starved of quality service last season.
Arsenal ended up signing former Atletico Madrid midfielder Thomas Partey on the final day of the transfer window for £45 million, but reports suggest that they might have been close to signing Jorginho from arch-rivals Chelsea.
Jorginho joined Chelsea from Napoli in the summer of 2018 for £50 million, where he won the UEFA Europa League in his first season. The 28-year-old initially had an immediate impact on the Chelsea squad, adding another dimension to the Chelsea attack with his passing range and vision.
Jorginho's form however slowly began to dip as he found it hard to come to grips with the pace and physicality of the English game. The Italian has often been caught out in games where Chelsea have lacked possession, and are playing against teams that thrive on the counter-attack.
Jorginho is focused on achieving success at Chelsea despite being linked to Arsenal
Jorginho's future at Chelsea had been cause for much speculation after the Blues spent in excess of £200 million this summer on seven new players. Speaking to ESPN Brazil, the Italian acknowledged talks on some level but reaffirmed his commitment to the Chelsea cause. He said:
"I believe that every player is open to negotiations. So I believe there was something they talked about. And in the end it was decided that I remain here. Now my head is here and we're going to do a great job with Chelsea, which I always wanted to do."
Jorginho currently faces heavy competition for places in Chelsea's midfield from the likes of Mateo Kovacic, N'Golo Kante and Billy Gilmour. The 28-year-old has, however, had a strong start to the season, and has the backing of manager Frank Lampard, who believes that Jorginho has a crucial role to play for Chelsea this season.
Chelsea will be hoping that Jorginho finds the form that made him one of the most coveted players in Europe when he was at Napoli. The Blues sent midfielders Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Ross Barkley out on loan to Fulham and Aston Villa respectively, and will be hoping that Jorginho will not let them regret those decisions.Published 24 Oct 2020, 15:29 IST