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SARRI STATE

Is Jorginho a misunderstood genius or simply not cut out for the Premier League?

The midfielder is in the spotlight at the moment, having failed to register an assist for Chelsea this season despite racking up 2,000 passes

Six months ago, Jorginho was widely considered the Premier League’s most exciting summer signing.

Bought by Chelsea a mere three hours after the club had announced the appointment of Maurizio Sarri as their new manager, there was a huge buzz around Stamford Bridge over the arrival of the former Napoli duo.

Under Sarri, Jorginho had been named as one of the best midfielders in Serie A and was hotly sought-after by some of the biggest clubs in Europe.

But the playmaker – whose style of play has been likened to that of Xabi Alonso and Andrea Pirlo – has yet to register an assist for the Blues this season, despite racking up an eye-watering 2,000 passes in the Premier League following their win over Newcastle at the weekend.

Rough day at the office

EPA
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Rough day at the office

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As you’d expect, fans and pundits have started to give the £57million summer purchase a bit of a hard time.

On Saturday, his play in the centre of the park was typically neat and tidy, as he pulled off 101 passes with an accuracy percentage of 91.1%.

But his lack-of contribution to the Blues’ final-third is what more people were talking about, with a lot of his more difficult forward passes failing to reach their intended target, while he clearly struggled with Newcastle’s tight-marking and physical approach.

Jorginho was booed and jeered by some Chelsea fans during their match against Newcastle

PA:Press Association
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Jorginho was booed and jeered by some Chelsea fans during their match against Newcastle

After the game, Sarri admitted he wanted to take Jorginho off after his disappointing display, but said there was simply no other options on the Chelsea bench.

Of course, the obvious choice would’ve been Cesc Fabregas, but the Spaniard said his goodbyes to the Blues after completing his move to Monaco earlier in the week.

Sarri is supposedly eyeing a replacement for the Spaniard during the January window, with Cagliari midfielder Nicola Barella and Argentinian playmaker Leandro Paredes top of his wish-list.

Meanwhile, some in the media believe Sarri should be looking a little closer towards N’Golo Kante, who’s been playing out of position to accommodate the arrival of Jorginho.

But are we all being overly harsh?

After all, Jorginho’s Chelsea career is still very much in its infancy, he’s adjusting to a vastly different league and the Blues are still going through a transitional period under their manager.

What’s more, it’s perhaps no fault of Jorginho that some fans and pundits simply don’t really understand what his role is in Sarri’s system.

The hard fact is that he was not signed to score or even assist goals, but rather to control his team’s possession and tempo, all the while looking to make simple but accurate passes into space.

The essence of his role is to pass the ball and keep passing; all from a deep position that keeps him well away from goal-scoring or even assisting opportunities.

He’s an integral part of Sarri’s much-heralded system and style, as he proved at Napoli. It just hasn’t worked out for him in London just yet.

Maybe these two just need time?

Getty - Contributor
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Maybe these two just need time?

So does that make Jorginho a misunderstood genius at the centre of Chelsea’s Sarri-revolution?

Perhaps so, but it’s fair to say that he’s been slow to get to grips with the physical aspect of the Premier League, while his outing against Newcastle highlighted how he needs to improve his attacking contributions.

But maybe it’s a case of Chelsea collectively going through a hard-time, while their summer signing requires some patience from the Blues infamously restless fan base.

Perhaps a Jorginho shaped back-up – not to mention a proper goal-scoring striker – is the solution to Chelsea’s problems.


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