Arsenal have marked success when it comes to Chelsea rejects.
William Gallas, Petr Cech, David Luiz, Lassana Diarra, Yossi Benayoun and now Willian, are the most recent to have come to Arsenal directly from the Blues, carving with mixed success. But bringing Chelsea’s leftovers across London is a very limited strategy, and the buck stops with Jorginho.
The Italian, originally brought to England by Maurizio Sarri to fill Chelsea’s creative void, has fallen out of favor under Frank Lampard, and is reportedly looking to leave. Arsenal, in desperate need of creativity, have apparently stepped up their pursuit of Jorginho as an alternative to Houssem Aouar. Can we reflect on how awful that idea is?
Our midfield has three major problems: lack of cutting edge, lack of speed, and lack of dynamic movement. If you’ve ever watched Jorginho play football, you likely know that those are his three biggest drawbacks too. He’s not the type of player to play an incisive final ball, or dribble around a defender. He’s pretty much a right-footed Granit Xhaka, with slightly more composure and a shorter passing range.
He couldn’t solve Chelsea’s creative problem, and he won’t solve ours. He’s not defensively solid enough to function as a No. 6, and isn’t well-rounded enough to be a functional box-to-box No. 8. And if Mikel Arteta is looking for a No. 10 to play in a 4-2-3-1, guess again. He won’t solve that issue either.
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He’s an excellent regulator of possession, but we already have one of those, in Xhaka. He’s not good against a low-lying block, doesn’t deal with pressure well (anyone remember Aaron Ramsey locking him down two years back?), and he’s chronically right-footed, which limits his usefulness to an Arsenal team rather dependent on right-footed players at the moment.
We don’t need another perfect passer (which he isn’t, for the record), we need a mover and a shaker. We need somebody who will take risks, switch up patterns, create unpredictable sequences of play, and generally unsettle the opposition. Innovation is key, and Jorginho doesn’t have it.
And that’s just the player. Arsenal’s link with Chelsea has helped us in the past, but we’re trying to beat them, not become them. If the club were taking a player who would fundamentally change their play style, strengthening us without weakening them, that would be one thing. But that’s not the case here.
Instead, we would be taking a high-wage player off of Chelsea’s books, almost entirely to their advantage, and quite possibly to our detriment. His ego would likely clash with Arteta’s project, and his play-style would not work within the team. I say no-go.
And yes, Arsenal have just had another Houssem Aouar rejected by Lyon, even after the player reportedly agreed personal terms. Yes, our bid was (shock horror) shot down as “timid,” and “not an offer that was even susceptible to making us consider a sale,” according to Jean-Michel Aulas. But that’s alright.
We have under a week left to buy and sell, so we’re not quite under the cosh just yet. And even when we do get to that place, even if there is a wide consensus that Arsenal could do worse, we should not sign him. Because signing anybody who isn’t right for our project is a step backwards, end of story. And that is the mentality Arsenal must have in this transfer window.
So, no thank you Chelsea. Keep your Jorginho. We don’t need him, we don’t want him, have a great day.