Chelsea midfielder Jorginho could well be on the move in the near future, amid reports that he won’t be handed a new deal by the club.
What’s the word?
According to 90min, the Italy international is ‘unlikely’ to be offered an extension on his current contract – which expires in June 2023 – with his future now uncertain heading into the summer transfer window.
The report suggests that with just over a year remaining on that deal, a departure at the end of the season is a ‘likelihood’, amid reports of a potential reunion with former boss Maurizio Sarri at Lazio.
It would seem that a switch to Serie A is the most likely destination for the 30-year-old – with Juventus also rumoured to be keen on a deal – with the player’s agent, Joao Santos, having suggested last year that it would be a “dream” for his client to return to Italy.
On the decline
It may seem a fairly brutal decision from the Blues to shun an extension for a player who not so long ago ranked third in the Ballon d’Or, yet it is perhaps a marker of his struggles for both club and country so far this season.
On the international stage, two missed penalties in World Cup qualifying ultimately proved costly in Italy’s bid for an automatic place in this year’s tournament with Roberto Mancini’s side having missed out on a place in Qatar less than a year on from their Euro 2020 triumph over England.
In the end, a 1-0 defeat to North Macedonia in the play-off semi-finals ensured the Azzurri will miss out on the tournament for the second edition running, with Jorginho coming under fire after viral footage seemed to show his stark lack of recovery pace.
At club level, the former Napoli man has also endured difficult moments so far this term, most recently in the 2-0 FA Cup win over Crystal Palace, with manager Thomas Tuchel visibly angered by the playmaker on the touchline after a string of errant passes.
While the former Paris Saint-Germain boss has since suggested that such criticism was not “personal”, he did hint that the £40.5m-rated man was potentially suffering some after-effects from his success for his country last summer.
He also came under fire earlier this season for his error in the build-up to Jadon Sancho’s strike in the 1-1 draw with Manchester United, with club legend Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink labelling him “arrogant” while also pointing out that the £100k-per-week star is “not blessed with pace”.
That echoes the words of Rio Ferdinand in 2019, with the former England international suggesting that the playmaker “can’t run” and “doesn’t give you anything defensively”, such are his failings as a combative midfielder.
While Ferdinand has since gone on to suggest he was wrong for those comments, there are seemingly lingering concerns over his lack of athleticism, with that only likely to get worse now that he is perhaps moving away from his peak.
With Crystal Palace loanee Conor Gallagher – who has been compared favourably to N’Golo Kante – set to return to Stamford Bridge next season, the 22-year-old will offer a much more vibrant and energetic midfield presence, hence Chelsea’s potential reservations about harming his development by handing the more senior man a new deal.
The younger man offers a real workman-like, box-to-box ability in the centre of the park, ranking in the top 4% for pressures made by midfielders in Europe’s top five leagues, as well as in the top 11% for dribbles completed, as per FBref, with Jorginho ranking in just the top 43% and 59% in those two categories, respectively.
Although Tuchel has hinted it would be wise to offer him a new contract, perhaps the board should pull rank and sever ties with a player who is seemingly on the wane.