Napoli's newest signing is a crafty midfielder who broke in to Serie A in a big way this season with newly-promoted Hellas Verona. Jorge Luiz Frello Filho, better known simply as Jorginho, was the little engine that could in the heart of Hellas' surprising surge up the Serie A table in their impressive first half of the season.
Age: 23 (12/20/1991)
Height: 5'11" (1.8 meters)
Season So Far: 18 Appearances, 7 G, 4 A
Strengths: Jorginho is a devilishly talented creator from deeper areas of the pitch, capable of picking out running attackers in stride from half the pitch away. He's calm and assured in possession, with a wide passing range, as well as a variety of passing methods that help to keep him out of trouble. He's also got a nice shot from outside the box, and is a fair hand at delivering on set pieces.
Working in defense, Jorginho uses a strong work rate and good eye for the development of play to get himself in to passing and running lanes, serving to break up play via interceptions and forcing runners in to other defenders. He's also in a possession of a strong work rate, which allows him to pop up in just about any area of the pitch at any given moment.
Weaknesses: Jorginho isn't terribly strong, and isn't a great on-ball defender as a result. His pressing can be iffy at times as well, as the angles he takes and his physical technique can leave him vulnerable to getting passed by with a clever pass and left out of position.
Jorginho also has a habit of tending to go a little too much for the "big" or "hollywood" pass, when a simpler linking pass to a closer teammate in a better position would be more beneficial and far less risky. That's not unusual for creative players his age, though, and is something that can be worked on as he adjusts to the system and matures.
Summation: Jorginho is an Italian-born midfielder of Brazilian descent with traits of both nationalities in his game. He's a very good fit for the midfield pivot in how Rafa Benitez has traditionally deployed his squads in the past. In fact, parts of his game strongly echo that of a young Xabi Alonso during the heyday that Benitez enjoyed with Liveropool in the middle part of the last decade. That's not to say that Jorhinho is another Xabi in the making (though that would be nice), just that there are stylistic similarities.
I wouldn't expect Jorginho to be a locked-on, every match starter just yet, as there's still things to iron out in his game as he adjusts to Italy's highest level, but he can easily be a regular member of the midfield rotation, as well as a pace or style-changing piece off the bench for a variety of circumstances. For a club competing on both domestic and European fronts, as well as expecting to do the same next year, having that kind of player available is extremely valuable.
Given his talent and fit, spending €5.5 million to get Jorginho's co-ownership rights is a very good piece of business. Obviously there's still the matter of securing the rest of his rights in the summer, but even if it takes another bid of approximately the same amount to get the job done, there's still very little to object to in this deal.