A Chelsea star in the final year of his contract has made an eye-watering demand that’s all but confirmed he’ll be playing elsewhere next season, per a report.
Despite their lavish summer spend, one area of the Blues’ squad could be in desperate need of new investment in 2023. Central midfield has been settled in recent times with Mateo Kovacic, N’Golo Kante and Jorginho all excelling.
However, Kante and Jorginho are both out of contract next summer and the latter appears to be angling for a move.
The 30-year-old Italy international continues to be heavily linked with a free agent switch to Barcelona.
The Spanish side’s perilous financial situation dictate free agent coups are the order of the day. Xavi will be looking for a successor to Sergio Busquets at season’s end and midfield metronome Jorginho could fill the void.
Reports out of Spain have gone as far as claiming a deal in principle has already been agreed between Jorginho and Barcelona.
That claim has its roots in the player’s agent, Joao Santos, being spotted in Barcelona. The agent then provided a dubious excuse for his presence in the city.
Jorginho would be free to forge a pre-contract agreement with any overseas club come January 1 – providing he doesn’t sign a Chelsea extension first, of course.
However, according to the latest from Sport, the chances of that happening are virtually nil.
Jorginho makes preposterous demand
That’s because Jorginho is understood to have made a ludicrous demand.
It’s claimed he’s asked Chelsea for a pay rise that would more than double his current salary.
Jorginho reportedly earns around £105,000-a-week after tax. Per Sport, he wants that bumped up to a net salary of £230,000-per-week. Furthermore, it’s suggested he’s using Barcelona’s interest as leverage in negotiations.
Whether Jorginho is worth that kind of outlay to Chelsea is open to debate. However, the fact he’s 30 and will turn 31 next month makes Chelsea’s chances of agreeing to the demand extremely unlikely.
Chelsea have alternatives if they don’t spend
The Blues already have options among their squad who can take Jorginho’s place if he leaves.
Conor Gallagher is in the mix after impressing on loan at Crystal Palace last season. Ruben Loftus-Cheek would love more opportunities to feature in his preferred central midfield role rather than as a makeshift wing-back.
The Blues also forked out around £33m combined to sign young midfielders Carney Chukwuemeka and Cesare Casadei last summer. Furthermore, it stands to reason if Jorginho were to move on, Chelsea would try doubly hard to retain Kante.
Predictably, Sport report Chelsea aren’t having any of Jorginho’s apparent demand.
They claim the Blues are willing to offer a slight increase, though nowhere near what the player is seeking. In their words, Chelsea and Jorginho are ‘very far apart’ at present.
Barcelona are deemed fully aware of the disharmony between Jorginho and Chelsea.
As such, they’ll reportedly ‘accelerate negotiations’ during the World Cup in the hopes of having a pre-contract agreement ready to be signed come January.
AC Milan are also know admirers of Jorginho, though they’ll not be able to match the salary Barcelona can put forward.