An unfortunate reality of performing very well in one of the bigger leagues without being a traditional power is that it's inevitable that bigger clubs will come calling for your top performers. So it was with Napoli when Paris Saint-Germain came for Ezequiel Lavezzi and Edinson Cavani in successive summers, with the partenopei having to surrender the successful forwards for high fees because they couldn't afford to pay them what they were worth on the market.
Now, with Napoli dominating in Serie A, the same tune might start to get played again. There have been whispers of teams circling for Faouzi Ghoulam, Dries Mertens, Kalidou Koulibaly, and even Marek Hamsik over the last month or so, but now we have a specific and worrying rumor that makes too much sense: Arsenal may be coming for Jorginho.
Jorginho has been a revelation in Napoli's midfield this season, being given a return to his best role by Maurizio Sarri, and rewarding that faith with one strong performance after another at the base of Napoli's midfield.After a rough season under Rafa Benitez when he was asked to do things he's not good at over and over again, Jorginho has been allowed to return to his playmaking roots and just be himself, and as a result he's been one of the best men in the middle in Serie A this season.
That's reportedly drawn the eye of Arsene Wenger and Arsenal, who are desperate to improve their central midfield after a rash of injuries and disappointing performances have left them struggling in midfield this season. While what they really need is a ball-winner, a more reliable playmaking presence in their central midfield would be massively useful as well, and Jorginho would certainly fit that bill.
Of course, Napoli would much rather keep Jorginho, but his agent has been continuously agitating for a new contract in the media lately in a matter that suggests he'd actually rather move his client than keep him in Naples. Not helping matters is his agent playing coy about these Arsenal rumors:
I’m not surprised that the player is doing very well -- especially in light of the change of manager -- and has top clubs interested in him.
One of the head scouts of Arsenal is well-known, and so I know he was at Marassi for the Napoli match. Right now we’re more thinking about Jorginho at Napoli than the transfer market.
I’m in Brazil, and when I’m back we can discuss my client’s contract. The priority is getting a call-up for the [Italy] national team, then there’s the January transfer market.
If Napoli receive an irrefutable offer for Jorginho in January then it’s normal that we’d make our assessments.
-Source: Radio CRC
Translation via Football Italia
Arsenal definitely have the money to throw around and make Napoli blink and the need for a player like Jorginho. The question now is whether or not the rumors are real and if they wind up thinking he's a fit. For Napoli's sake, though, let's hope they find a way to keep him.