Premier League • England

Arteta in ultimate Arsenal praise as surprise star labelled ‘world-class’ after proving all doubters wrong

Mikel Arteta, Arsenal star Jorginho

Mikel Arteta has heaped praise on an Arsenal player

Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta has lavished praise on experienced midfielder Jorginho, calling him ‘world-class’ after another Man of the Match performance.

Arsenal raised eyebrows when they spent £12million to sign Jorginho from London rivals Chelsea in January 2023. The deep-lying playmaker arrived at Arsenal to help Arteta’s side in their push for the Premier League title, and he made 14 appearances as the Gunners were ultimately beaten to the trophy by Manchester City.

Jorginho has played more than expected this term, having featured in 25 matches across all competitions and even captained Arsenal in six games. The main reason for this is that Arteta has not been able to select Thomas Partey for large parts of the campaign due to injury problems.

When Jorginho moved to the Emirates, some will have been concerned about his ability to keep up with the pace of the biggest and most important games. However, the 32-year-old is shining in a midfield three alongside Declan Rice and skipper Martin Odegaard.

Jorginho was named Man of the Match as Arsenal beat title rivals Liverpool 3-1 on February 4, and he repeated that achievement against Newcastle United on Saturday. The Italian absolutely ran the show as Arsenal eased to a 4-1 home victory, putting them just one point behind City and two behind leaders Liverpool.

Reacting to Jorginho’s classy performance, Arteta hinted that the player excels against certain tactics and also labelled him ‘world-class’ in sensational praise.

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“He’s a top player, especially when the opponents have certain behaviours or certain set-up,” the manager said (via Just Arsenal). “The way I can imagine the game, he is going to have a big impact, but I think you have to do it at this level and when he’s not playing consistently, credit to him because he was magnificent today, again.

“He is certainly [world-class] but I think individually today we were outstanding in the way we played and we raised the bar again.

Arteta ‘credits’ Jorginho and other Arsenal stars

“Newcastle are a top side, they are really well-coached and it’s very difficult to do what we’ve done today, to have them in the positions and to make them suffer like we’ve done, so credit to the boys.”

Despite Jorginho heading towards the twilight years of his career, that £12m outlay from Arsenal looks like it was worth every penny.

The former Napoli star has been linked with a return to Italy, as Juventus reportedly hold ‘extreme’ interest in landing him. Juve have been alerted to the possibility of signing Jorginho as his Arsenal contract expires at the end of the season.

Given his growing importance to Arteta though, Arsenal must work hard to convince Jorginho to stay and pen a new deal in North London.

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