Jorginho may not have been top of Mikel Arteta’s January shopping list but he’s a player who the manager has long admired and one he feels can bring vital experience to his title-challenging squad.
Arsenal sealed the signing of the Italy international on deadline day, luring the midfielder from Chelsea for £12 million on an 18-month contract.
In the absence of the injured Mohamed Elneny, the 31-year-old will initially provide backup to Thomas Partey but could well earn game time in both the Premier League and Europa League as the season wears on.
Ahead of Saturday’s trip to Everton, Arteta was asked when he first targeted Jorginho. He said:
“Many years ago. We knew that in this market, you have to adapt and you have to be flexible. You have to be ready for inconvenience.
“We had one with the latest news on Mo’s injury and we needed a player in that position. He’s a player I’ve always admired. He’s a great character and he’s someone who is going to bring leadership and quality in that position. He’s going to help the team a lot.”
In his first interview after arriving from Stamford Bridge, Jorginho joked that he was surprised by the interest from the Gunners and how quickly things played out in the dying days of the transfer window.
Perhaps, like the rest of us, he was surprised by the pivot after a concerted effort to sign Moises Caicedo from Brighton.
“Timing-wise, it wasn’t that late,” said Arteta. “But he’s a player who has always been very close to our intentions to bring him in.”
Despite being integral to much of Chelsea’s success in recent seasons, most Blues supporters were happy with the money recouped for a player they believe is on the wane physically.
While doubts about the player’s ability to cope with the rigours of the Premier League may have crept in at the Bridge, Arteta is clear about the qualities Jorginho possesses.
“His intelligence, his personality, his leadership skills, the way he understands our way of playing, and the quality he has to implement that in football matches,” replied the Spaniard when asked what his new man will bring to Arsenal.
“He’s a player who will fit in really well with what we want to do.”