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The very reliable Paul Joyce of The Times has reported that Napoli midfielder Jorginho is a top midfield target for Liverpool in the summer.
With the expected departure of Emre Can and the inconsistency of the Reds’ midfield, it is right for Liverpool to jump in the transfer market in the hunt for an upgrade in the middle of the park.
Napoli currently stand second on the Serie A points table, just one point behind leaders Juventus and Jorginho has played a key role in the side’s run for league triumph.
Jorginho is a Brazilian born Italy international of 26-years of age. The right-legged player, who wears the number 8 shirt for Napoli, primarily is a defensive midfielder but is also effective as a central midfielder.
The player, who has a contract with Napoli until 2020, joined the club in 2014 as a 23 year old. Former Liverpool manager Rafa Benitez was at the helm at the club then and the Spanish manager being a person renown for his ability to develop midfielders, helped Jorginho a lot.
Rafa was soon replaced by Maurizio Sarri, who is also a top class tactician. Under the former Empoli manager, Jorginho saw a steep rise in his career as the Naples side started finishing in the top four consistently.
Straight from the shoulder, passing is what Jorginho is mainly about. The player has attracted the attention of fans and pundits alike with his ability to control the tempo of the game, something the Liverpool midfielders fail to do in crunch situations.
The 26-year-old is capable of playing some defence splitting passes from the centre of the park like Xabi Alonso used to do. This ability of his coupled with the exemplary pace of Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah could turn out to be a major gamechanger for Liverpool.
Jorginho’s xA per 90 minutes kExpected assists of 0.13 is almost double the value of the Reds’ skipper Jordan Henderson and equal to that of Emre Can. Naby Keita, who will be joining the Merseysiders next season, has a xA per 90 of 0.16.
The above data from Squawka shows how Jorginho is better than the main two central midfielders Jurgen Klopp has at his disposal.
The player clearly tops the lists for total passes, successful passes, key passes, chances created and interceptions with a big margin. The only stat he comes short in is the tackles won. Emre Can’s 2.35 is way better than his 1.72.
Speaking of interceptions, the next thing to talk about Jorginho is his defensive contributions. The Italian is a very good interceptor of the ball like his stats suggest. He is also good at tackling even though he doesn’t have a ‘number six’ kind of record.
Looking at the stats and performances, it is as clear as sunlight that he is better than Can and Henderson. However, his numbers prove that he is more of a number eight than a number six.
Pundits and fans have often said the importance of Liverpool buying a proper number six to protect the back four and to dictate the tempo of the match. While Jorginho can do the latter more than just good, it is quite uncertain how well he can handle the former.
Especially in a league like Premier League, a number six is a player whose part in the attack is very minimal. He always stays there at the back making sure he is there to clear the mess. Jorginho is not that.
The former Empoli player is a person who like to contribute to the attack very much. If he is made to play like a proper defensive midfielder, then his abilities will be going down the sink.
Jorginho is not the number six Liverpool need, but would be the perfect partner for Naby Keita as a central midfielder.
Keita will be doing the job of a box-to-box player while Jorginho can stay back and dictate the tempo of the game along with releasing Salah or Mane with some of his Alonso-esque through passes.
If Klopp identifies that Liverpool need a defensive midfielder to push for Premier League glory, then he would have look at other options like Victor Wanyama or Steven N’Zonzi who could serve the necessity better than Jorginho or Keita.
Written by Dakir Thanveer
Follow Dakir on Twitter @ZakWriter
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