Chelsea supporters swore the regista was on his way back to Italy just a few months ago, but Jorginho looks to be in the gaffer’s plans and here to stay.
Over the last three seasons, despite Chelsea employing the likes of Willian, David Luiz and others, there has been no more polarizing figure than Jorginho. The so-called regista made his famed move to the SW6 alongside Maurizio Sarri after Antonio Conte’s sacking. The Italian duo departed Naples in hopes of revolutionizing a Premier League side in dire need of a revamp, but they did just the opposite.
Following a year of uninspiring football, Chelsea was leaning towards sacking Sarri before he stumbled upward into a managerial job in Turin. Jorginho remained at Stamford Bridge, determined to fight for his place, but many viewed it as just a matter of time before he followed his old boss once again. Now, the 2020/21 Premier League season is upon us and the 28-year-old is still sporting Chelsea blue. What comes as a surprise to many, however, is his importance to the squad during his third year in the English capital.
If you predicted that Jorginho would be the team’s leading league goalscorer at the first international stoppage of the season, you are either lying or you need to teach me how to time travel. I’d love to go back in time and prevent Conte from sending a text to his title-winning striker or take Ruben Loftus-Cheek off the pitch earlier at Gillette Stadium. However, the former is far more likely, unfortunately. Regardless, the vice-captain’s three penalties in the Premier League have him atop the team’s scoresheet. He is also in a five-way tie for the lead with his Chelsea teammates for assists.
Why does this seem so unlikely? Well, it wasn’t long ago the Brazilian born Italian international found himself on the bench for much of the league restart. If not for injuries to players like N’Golo Kante and Billy Gilmour, he may not have featured at all. Rumors spread rapidly the team’s vice-captain was on his way back to Italy, but he’s still fighting. Perhaps Sarri being sacked by Juventus threw a wrench in the Blues’ plan to sell Jorginho or maybe there was no truth to those links at all. Whatever the case may be, Frank Lampard has found a place for the once ostracized midfielder.
It’s important to note that much of the fanbase’s resentment for the player comes from a source other than himself. Many seem to think he represents Sarri’s continual presence at the club or they direct their anger at Lampard for continually playing Jorginho, despite his lackadaisical outings. As a person, Jorginho has handled the intense criticism with maturity and class. Much like Kepa Arrizabalaga, Jorginho has been dealt a frustrating hand, but put his head down and worked regardless. Lampard has clearly rewarded the professionalism.
Lampard has continued to show faith in Jorginho and rewarded him to begin this year. He may not be the most athletic midfielder and his style of play may not directly translate to what Lampard is looking for, but he’s an important cog for Chelsea now. The Blues’ second-in-command is the designated penalty taker and a leader in the dressing room. Jorginho has already played more minutes than many believed he would, and he’s not looked out of place either. He slots in nicely alongside Kante in defensive midfield in the new-look 4-2-3-1.
Only the player himself and coaching staff know what is in store for Jorginho beyond this season, but with the congested schedule, he will play a crucial role for Chelsea going forward. As a fan base, it’s time we start giving the veteran the respect he deserves, no matter how hard that pill is to swallow.