Paul Merson has praised one-time Arsenal transfer target and Chelsea midfielder Jorginho by claiming that he is better than Declan Rice and now the third best midfielder in the Premier League, as he told Sportskeeda.
The former Arsenal star added that Jorginho is a ‘very underrated’ player for Chelsea and used the likes of Rice and Kalvin Phillips as examples of how they ‘don’t play like him’.
Whilst Arsenal didn’t end up signing Jorginho, despite those past links, there are now rumours that Spanish giants Barcelona want to secure his services.
At 30-years-old, Jorginho has enjoyed domestic success in the colours of Napoli, whilst producing his greatest night at club level when he won the Champions League under Thomas Tuchel’s stewardship at Stamford Bridge.
But perhaps the technically-gifted midfielder would put forward his European Championship medal as his greatest success, when Roberto Mancini’s Italy triumphed at the expense of England at Wembley at Euro 2020.
Maurizio Sarri was the man who brought his fellow countryman to England and Merson shared how the player has changed since then, as he thinks Jorginho is the third best midfielder in the Premier League, behind only Thiago Alcantara and Kevin de Bruyne.
“When Jorginho first joined to play at the base of Chelsea’s midfield under Maurizio Sarri, he got a lot of stick,” said Merson. “That said, over the years, he’s played regularly under every manager who has taken over the reins at Stamford Bridge, which simply doesn’t happen if you aren’t a good player.
“He’s different to English midfielders in the sense that he’s not about his workrate, hustle or moving at 100 miles per hour. He makes the team tick by keeping it tidy in the centre of the park and is also capable of picking a defence-splitting pass if the situation calls for it.
“Kalvin Phillips joined Manchester City for a fee believed to be in the region of £42 million, while Declan Rice is valued at over £100 million by West Ham United. They’re both good players, but they don’t play like Jorginho, do they?
“I’m not saying England don’t have good midfield players, but we haven’t had a player like Jorginho for god knows how long now. Jorginho has got flaws like his lack of pace, but he’s very assured on the ball and controls the game from a deeper midfield position. For me, he’s very underrated as people really don’t understand what he brings to the table in the Premier League.”
JORGINHO WILL ALWAYS DIVIDE OPINION
Even from Chelsea fans and those watching from the outside, it seems as though this penalty expert, will always divide opinion.
For some, he’s not dominating enough and he can’t win a game from the middle of the park, as other top midfielders from across Europe could.
Jorginho isn’t someone who will find the top bins from 30 yards out, nor will he continually play Hollywood passes.
But his positional play, being aggressive without the ball, being tidy in possession, making others around him better and finding the right pass, are some of his standout traits.
Perhaps there’s a reason why he was on Arsenal’s transfer radar once upon a time and why Barcelona are seemingly keen to take him on board now.