Despite being born in the coastal town of Imbituba in the south of Brazil, Jorginho – full name Jorge Luiz Frello Filho – moved to Italy as a child and, with his ability spotted early, began his professional career with Verona. He spent a season on loan at lower-league club Sambonifacese before returning to Verona and helping the then Serie B club secure promotion to the top flight of Italian football.
It didn’t take long for the giants of Italian football to circle – midway through his debut season in Serie A, the then 22-year-old moved to Napoli. He was an Italian Cup winner in his first season – he played all 90 minutes in the final against Fiorentina, impressing after his midfield partner Gokhan Inler was sent off with 10 minutes remaining – but wasn’t always first choice under then manager Rafa Benitez, and had his penalty saved by Gianluigi Buffon in an eventual shoot-out victory over Juventus in the Italian Super Cup later that year.
The arrival of the charismatic and well-travelled Maurizio Sarri in the summer of 2015 saw Jorginho become an integral part of the team’s midfield, however. The reverse triangle within Sarri’s preferred 4-3-3 formation enabled him to control the rhythm of play from deeper positions, with additional forward players in front of him and the ball playing to his impressive range of short passing.
It says much that, after Sarri’s subsequent move to Chelsea was confirmed, one of the new manager’s first acts was to bring Jorginho – who had been strongly linked with Manchester City – with him to west London for a fee of £50m. It will be intriguing to see how Sarri adapts both his own style and that of Jorginho, who has eight caps for Italy, into the much quicker English league.