Five points clear at the top of the Premier League, with a game in hand, and an exciting young team led by a manager on the rise. All must be pretty at Arsenal, right?
However, it is fair to say, however, that the January window did not go as well as the leaders of the league, who want to win the first championship since 2004, would have liked.
The two top targets in the transfer market, Mykhailo Mudryk chose Arsenal’s London-based Chelsea team Gunners, while the bids for Brighton’s Moises Caicedo were repeatedly refused.
That led to the arrival of Leandro Trossard and Jorginho seeming to be the second choice for some, but does that necessarily happen with two experienced pilots?
Since the Premier League began in 1992, Arsenal are the ninth team to hold a lead of between five and eight points – to take control of the game – after 19 games, midway through the season.
Of the previous eight, only two – Norwich, in their first Premier League campaign in 1992-93, and Liverpool, in 2018-19 – did not win the title.
The Reds’ failed bid four years ago will be relevant to the Gunners, as Manchester City, Arsenal’s closest rivals in the league, have restructured.
So was January a missed opportunity – or do Arsenal already have enough in their ranks to ensure they get over the line despite their minimal winter business?
“Clever signing Jorginho has the mentality of a winner”
In some areas, Jorginho was captured from Chelsea He is seen as an unlikely – Plan B, at best, after Brighton’s failed bid for 21-year-old Ecuadorian midfielder Caicedo.
The signing of the 31-year-old on a short-term deal also does not fit the Gunners’ recruitment policy under Arteta, where the trend has been to bring in players in their early to mid-20s such as Gabriel Jesus, Oleksandr Zinchenko and Martin Odegaard.
But, pushing it to one side for a minute, the arrival of Jorginho strengthens Arsenal in one important area, an intangible part of the art of success.
“I think Jorginho is a smart signing,” said the former Tottenham and England striker Darren Bent wrote on Twitter. “Premier League experience, he has the mentality of a winner.
“The only concern I might have, movement wise. But some good business.”
Times chief football writer Henry Winter agrees, in writing“Don’t understand the hatred some Arsenal fans have for Jorginho. Experienced, successful, breaks up the game, rarely loses possession (although not predictable).
The aforementioned duo of Jesus and Zinchenko have won everything they have achieved while at Manchester City, but the Brazilian will be sidelined until at least March and the Ukraine defender has also missed the season through injury. .
Even the influential Odegaard has only one Copa del Rey to his name, while Arsenal’s only trophy for Arteta was the FA Cup 2020 – the current team that only Granit Xhaka, Rob Holding, Kieran Tierney and Eddie Nketiah played in that final.
Compared to Jorginho, in 2021, he became the first player ever to win the European Championship, Champions League and Super Cup in the same year, having played in all three finals.
Former Spurs player Michael Brown believes this move could be an “unbelievable signing” for Arsenal.
“He will adapt well to Arsenal’s philosophy,” Brown told BBC Sport. “He’s very good and he’s coming in having won the Champions League and the Euros, taking all those victories.”
Trossard not far behind Mudryk’s numbers
While the failure to land Mudryk was a blow to Arsenal – who also signed young Polish defender Jakub Kiwior in January – the numbers suggest that Trossard is an adequate replacement.
The Belgium striker scored the most goals this season – seven – as Mudryk dominated Ukraine’s top flight, where, it’s fair to say, the quality is low.
Mudryk assisted five more – seven to two – but the team scored 45 goals in 19 games, while City only managed 53 goals in 20 games.
The Ukrainian averages a goal or assist every 65 minutes, compared to Trossard’s 147, but it remains to be seen if he can produce those numbers in a more competitive league, while the former Brighton man is a proven Premier League product. .
The comparison between Jorginho and Caicedo is even more interesting.
The Italian has earned a perhaps unfair reputation as a “sideline” footballer yet, over the last season and a half, he has averaged more passes in the final third per game (20.4) than Caicedo (14.7) and more passes than Caicedo (14.7). more early (20 to 14.5).
Jorginho also carries the ball more successfully (109m per game to Caicedo’s 97) and has more possession (8.3 times per game 6.7).
The 31-year-old leads Chelsea in rebounds per game, interceptions and tackles this season – oh, he’s also reliable from the penalty spot.
There is no doubt that Mudryk and Caicedo, who are 22 and 21 respectively, will have more to offer than their predecessors, Trossard and Jorginho – but Arsenal are no less.
Indeed, it could be argued that nous and experience are what’s really needed to run a nerve-wracking business – rather than big name or big money additions that can upset a happy and stable team.
‘Proven winner’, ‘major impact’ or ‘none’? Your opinion
Ashley: “Jorginho is not an exciting signing but I can live with an 18-month deal. In the end we just need him to start in our Europa League games and cover for Partey and Xhaka in the emergency league. We have shown that we have a lot of money to spend. Made at least one if not two exciting midfield signings in the summer so I can live with that now.”
Miles: “Don’t misunderstand my Arsenal friends’ feelings about signing Jorginho. A proven winner, cheap in today’s market and a team player. Smart business if you ask me.”
Bobo: “A lot of disillusioned Arsenal fans are missing the point about Jorginho – you need a technical player who fits Mikel Arteta’s tactical system. All your success is built on players buying into that system!”
John: “Jorginho joining Arsenal is the worst news in the transfer market
Simon: “Two years ago, Jorginho was one of the best in the world, he has the experience of winning and he adds depth to Arsenal’s midfield, where Xhaka and Partey don’t have much. can have a big impact on running”.
Dave: “I’d rather get Jorginho for £12m than Caicedo for £80m, I think, a good player with a lot of experience, save the money and go for Declan Rice in the summer.”