Premier League • England

Arteta true feelings on Jorginho transfer emerge, with Arsenal deal giving ex-Chelsea ace chance to right a wrong

Mikel Arteta preparing for an Arsenal match

Any fears Mikel Arteta wasn’t fully on board with signing Jorginho after prioritising Moises Caicedo have been dismissed, while the surprise move has given the ex-Chelsea midfielder an opportunity to do something that looked almost impossible.

Arsenal’s primary midfield target in the winter window was Moises Caicedo. The Gunners twice bid for the Brighton man, though offers of £60m and £70m were both rebuffed by the Seagulls.

Once Brighton made it crystal clear Caicedo was going nowhere, Arsenal quickly changed course and struck a deal to sign Jorginho.

The veteran Italy international, 31, arrived to the tune of £12m (£10m up front – £2m in add-ons). The move has split opinion, not least because £12m is a sizeable fee to pay for a 31-year-old in the final six months of his contract.

Rio Ferdinand described the move as “shrewd”, though concurred with Harry Redknapp when claiming Jorginho won’t be a starter at the Emirates.

The likely midfield pairing will continue to be Granit Xhaka and Thomas Partey. Nonetheless, Jamie Carragher reckons Jorginho’s vast experience as a Champions League and European Championship winner will serve Arsenal well down the stretch.

Now, speaking exclusively to TEAMtalk, transfer insider, Graeme Bailey, has dismissed any notion Arteta wasn’t fully behind the Jorginho move.

Despite favouring Caicedo, Bailey told us Jorginho’s name was personally put forward by Arteta.

What’s more, his arrival allowed the Gunners to loan out Albert Sambi Lokonga to Crystal Palace and ensured they can absorb the recent knee injury suffered by Mohamed Elneny.

Jorginho can add missing trophy to his CV at Arsenal

Additionally, Jorginho is unlikely to lack for motivation while at the Emirates too. Despite a trophy-laden CV, Jorginho hasn’t actually lifted the Premier League title.

The Blues’ last league title came in the 2016-17 season, with Jorginho not arriving until the summer of 2018.

Jorginho had widely been expected to leave England once his Chelsea contract ran down at season’s end.

A move to Juventus or Barcelona had been mentioned, but moving to Arsenal now gives him an unexpected opportunity to win England’s biggest prize.

“Mikel Arteta was insistent on getting the right player through the door and he recommended the Jorginho move,” said Bailey.

“Arsenal wanted a midfielder, but Arteta wanted to really improve his options and there is no doubt Jorginho does that.

“From having the possibility of turning to Mohamed Elneny and Albert Sambi Lokonga to suddenly having Jorginho, it is a game-changer for Arsenal.

“Whilst at the start of the season a title charge was not on the agenda, I am told within the club they firmly believe that the title is there to be won and they know that chance may not be available to them like this in a very long time.

“I believe Arteta is embracing this challenge. He does not see it is a pressure but is excited by the opportunity – this is his chance, as well as Arsenal’s to really make a mark.

“And the belief he has got from the Jorginho deal can’t be underestimated. He wanted this, and the club no questions asked have backed him.

“Jorginho too knows he has the chance to claim a Premier League winner’s medal – something that he was never able to achieve at Chelsea.

“He wants this and his talent and experience could very well give them the momentum to get them over the line come May.”

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