Jorginho signed for Chelsea on July 24, 2018, for £50 million; the same day Maurizio Sarri was hired by the club.
This of course was no coincidence. It became clear Sarri and Jorginho were a package. Jorginho being the fulcrum of ‘Sarriball’ in their days together at Napoli.
Sarri clearly earmarked Jorginho as the key to unleashing ‘Sarriball’ on unsuspecting, but already suspicious Chelsea supporters.
Many had heard of Sarri’s possession-based, metronomic style of football which was anathema to what supporters had seen at the club for years and worse, was associated with the tika-taka style of teams such as Barcelona and Man City and loathed in equal measure.
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Of more concern was what this would mean for fan favourite N’Golo Kante, arguably one of the few world-class players at Chelsea and surely the chosen one at the base of Chelsea’s midfield.
Given this, Jorginho would be up against it to win them over, and thus it proved.
As the season waxed and waned, many of the supporters whined. The football seemed turgid. Jorginho’s record-breaking number of most successful passes by a Chelsea player in a single match in the Premier League left them nonplussed.
There were embarrassing defeats to Bournemouth and Man City. The team were accused of lacking fight and physicality. And as the season became toxic, Jorginho became the scapegoat for the real target of the supporter’s ire: Sarri.
Jorginho had his moments. The occasional defence-splitting pass and his ‘hop, skip and jump’ penalties. But there was a general feeling that while he could pass, it was often sideways or backwards; passing for passing’s sake.
Furthermore, it appeared he couldn’t run, couldn’t tackle and was too lightweight for a defensive midfielder. If Chelsea wanted a player who…