There was something pretty nomadic about Jorginho‘s early career.
Born in the southern Brazilian town of Imbituba, he moved to Italy at the age of 15 to join the academy of Hellas Verona. Just when their first team was within his reach, he spent a season on loan in the fourth tier with AC Sambonifacese.
He ultimately 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 whole playing philosophy around the metronomic defensive midfielder.
It was Jorginho’s terrible backpass to keeper Kepa Arrizabalaga that cost Chelsea in their Premier League defeat to Arsenal on Wednesday night
But is was a rare lapse in judgement for the Italy international midfielder in a blue shirt
Thomas Tuchel has come to appreciate Jorginho’s qualities just as much as his predecessors
Jorginho was so integral to ‘Sarri-ball’ that Chelsea paid £50million to sign him on the same day the manager was installed at Stamford Bridge.
Sarri soon came and went from the club and there were many questions as to whether Jorginho would have a place under someone else.
So for the 29-year-old to declare two years later that Chelsea ‘feels like home’, after one of the more winding and uncertain career paths, is quite pleasing.
‘Of course I do feel settled,’ he said this week. ‘It feels great after three years, and I know everyone here appreciates what I try to do for the club and for the people.
‘So it feels like home now in England.’
After 137 games for Chelsea, Jorginho now has the opportunity to add further medals to the Europa League success he achieved under Sarri in 2019.
Jorginho spoke this week about how he feels completely at home at Stamford Bridge
Jorginho was so integral to Maurizio Sarri’s game plan, Chelsea spent £50million to bring him with the manager from Napoli 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 take on 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 another consistent campaign for Jorginho despite the mid-way interruption of Frank Lampard’s sacking and Tuchel coming in.
There was a rare blip in Chelsea’s unexpected home defeat to Arsenal on Wednesday night when Jorginho played an horrendous back pass to goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga, leading to Emile Smith Rowe scoring the game’s only goal.
‘We made an own goal more or less, a total gift. The rule is pass the ball to the right foot of Kepa. This is the rule,’ raged Tuchel afterwards.
‘No matter if it’s in the goal or sideways, pass it to Kepa.’
Jorginho certainly took the right foot rule to its extreme but we can expect him to line-up at Wembley on Saturday night despite Tuchel’s criticism.
The Italy international has dropped nicely into Tuchel’s ‘double-six’ pairing of defensive midfielders, the ballast that allows Chelsea’s wing-backs to maraud forward.
Jorginho, with his enjoyment of long diagonal passes and ability to keep the team’s midfield engine ticking over, has become just as useful to Tuchel as he 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 the midfield
He is popular within the Italy dressing room for playing the guitar and leading renditions of Wonderwall but the drums would be more appropriate to the beat he keeps on the pitch.
It helps having the tireless N’Golo Kante alongside you to put in the hard yards. It didn’t work as well with youngster Billy Gilmour in there against Arsenal the other night.
Jorginho has worked well alongside Mateo Kovacic too during the early games of Tuchel’s tenure, prior to the Croatian’s injury, and so Chelsea certainly have options in midfield.
Lapses in judgement such as the one against Arsenal will remain a stick with which to beat Jorginho, however. There are plenty of Chelsea fans who still aren’t convinced despite regular starts for three managers.
Jorginho and N’Golo Kante team up to keep tabs on Porto’s Sergio Oliveira last month
Pairing Jorginho with Mateo Kovacic is another option for Tuchel in Chelsea’s midfield
Plenty regard Jorginho as sluggish or in the wrong positions, or say that Kante’s industry makes him look better than he is.
The next ‘Jorginho back to Serie A’ rumour is never far away and with Sarri still out of work since leaving Juventus last year, there’s the inevitable thought they will be reunited somewhere sooner rather than later.
But in terms of getting Chelsea going from the back, passing them out of a tight spot or keeping them moving, they don’t have anyone better.
Tuchel quickly realised this and so Jorginho continues to start all Chelsea’s big games. There may well be an upgrade out there if Tuchel is given a transfer kitty in the summer, but for now he will be central in two cup finals.
‘Two more steps to achieve our dreams,’ as Jorginho put it this week. And if that doesn’t make you feel at home, nothing will.