He’s seen by Manchester City as a potential successor to Fernandinho, but who is Napoli’s defensive midfielder Jorginho?
Born Jorge Luiz Frello Filho in Imbituba in Brazil on December 20th, 1991, Jorginho, now 26, moved to Italy at the age of 15 and began his professional career at Verona. At the age of 19, he was sent out on loan to Serie C2 side AC Sambonifacese where he made 31 appearances, scoring once and providing 10 assists. The following season he returned to Verona and at the age of 20 made his first-team bow in a Serie B game against Sassuolo.
Two more seasons at Verona followed, during which he made 63 appearances and scored 9 goals. That was enough to catch the eye of Napoli and in January 2014 he was signed in a co-ownership deal with Verona for a reported £9m on a four-and-a-half year contract. He adapted quickly to Serie A and within a month had scored the winner in a 3-2 win that took Napoli to the 2014 Coppa Italia final in which he played for the full 90 minutes as the Partenopei beat Fiorentina 3-1.
The following season would see the arrival of head coach Mauricio Sarri and Jorginho consolidate his position as an integral part of the Napoli team. Napoli’s league form improved steadily from then on and, after coming 5th in 2014/2015, they would go on to finish second, third and second again in consecutive seasons.
Despite being a regular starter for Napoli, Jorginho is not known for his goal-scoring or assist-making exploits. Rather, he is the heartbeat of the team, playing as a deep-lying midfielder, winning back possession and controlling the tempo of the game. His stats for the 2017/2018 season read as follows: 33 games, 3,197 passes, 89.5% pass accuracy, 62 tackles won, 50 interceptions, 44 chances created, 4 assists and 2 goals. According to Squawka Football, he averages a pass once every 50 seconds.
Jorginho holds dual nationality and is therefore eligible to play for both Brazil and Italy. However, he made it clear that Italy was his preferred choice and in 2017 made his first competitive appearance for his adoptive country in a World Cup play-off against Sweden.