Jorginho: Serie A Expert On Brazilian Playmaker Chelsea & Liverpool Are Fighting Over

He's done his time in the lower leagues, is on the cusp of the Italian national team and whichever team gets him will get a model and skilful pro who'll give his all...
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Reports from talkSPORT say that Chelsea, Liverpool and Russian giants Zenit are all chasing the Hellas Veronas enganche Jorginho, one of the most highly-rated talents in Europe - here's Serie A commentator and expert Richard Whittle to give you the low-dow.

Jorginho: Serie A Expert On Brazilian Playmaker Chelsea & Liverpool Are Fighting Over

The fair city of Verona has had plenty to cheer about at the start of the new season. Hellas Verona are back in Serie A after a 11-year absence with the aim of casting local rivals Chievo back into the shadows.

Having finished just two points behind Serie B champions Sassuolo, there are high hopes that the Gialloblu can more than survive in the top flight and at present they have reached the dizzy heights of fourth spot ahead of the likes of Inter, Fiorentina and AC Milan and having scored as many goals as Juventus.

The extraordinary start to the campaign has been in part put down to that fact that the club have been able to retain the backbone of the side that impressed with their open and fluid play last year in the second tier.

The step-up has thus far been smooth and there is something of a Brazilian feel to that eye-catching  success, with goalkeeper Rafael and left wing-back Martinho regulars in the campaign but the real stand-out player of the Samba Trio has been the midfield motor Jorginho.

The 21-year-old is not only a constant sea of movement in the centre of the pitch but also the brains of the team, always showing for the ball and then splaying pinpoint passes out wide or through the middle where the second flight’s top goalscorer last year, Daniele Carcia, or that old war horse Luca Toni, have been willing recipients.

Slight of build but with a wiry strength Jorge Luiz Frello Filho, to give him his correct title, has also added a mental toughness to his game under the guidance of wily old coach Andrea Mandorlini.

Last weekend, he stepped up to the penalty spot on two occasions to dispatch the ball into the net – the second in the dying moments handed Verona a 3-2 win over Parma to make it four games without defeat for the side from the Veneto.


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His goal-tally now stands at five from eight starts in his first season in the top flight but there is no danger of Jorginho losing his focus on the task ahead.

There were reported links with AC Milan, Juventus and Lazio during the winter transfer market not to mention Inter and a host of English clubs this time around, but such speculation has not swayed the youngster from his aim of helping Hellas first reach promotion and then consolidate their position amongst the elite of the Italian game.

As Mandorlini put it of his young prodigy: “He is a real footballer in the sense that he does not let outside influences affect him. He just wants to play the game and a coach cannot ask for anything better than that.”

Jorginho has always wanted to play football for the coach ever since he an even skinnier kid running round the pitches of his home town of Imbituba in Brazil where at the age of 15 he decided to make the giant step of transferring to Europe and test the waters at Italian side San Martino.

Coming under the eye of Verona youth scouts he moved quickly through the ranks gaining further experience in the rough and rumble of the Lega Pro Seconda Divisione where he was loaned to Sambonifacese and employed as a deep-lying midfielder, a winger and at times a support striker.

Verona were impressed with his progress and above all that willingness to do what he was told and play wherever he was ordered, so much so that Mandorlini promoted him to the first-team squad. The 2011-2012 season was the real breakthrough and although he has never put on an ounce of weight over his 9 stone he did shoot up to a beanpole 5ft11in.

He really found his form last season, making 41 appearances in the charge to that Serie B runners-up spot and if there is one area where he could have improved it was in his finishing. Having said that, he may have only found the net only twice last year but he was involved in the majority of Verona’s goals at some stage in the build-up.

A summer spent working on his shooting aided by a belief that we was ready for the big time have paid instant dividends and the result is that even more scouts have been turning up at the Benegodi stadium to watch a player who it seems could may the transition to any league in Europe with ease.

He may not have caught the eye back home at international level which is not surprising as he has been away for so long as well as playing in a lower division, but when he qualified for dual-nationality, having traced a great-great grandfather back to near Vicenza, Italy Under-21 coach Devis Mangia quickly snapped him up.

He would probably have seen some game time against England at last summer’s European Under-21 Championship but a bureaucratic regulation on dual-nations playing at that level excluded him from selection to the squad.

However, with his slender frame, darting movement and guile through the middle of the pitch it will not be long before Jorginho comes of age and pushes his way into the full Italy squad as the old guard drop out after next summer’s World Cup finals.

By that time he will have no doubt moved on from Hellas but whatever team land him they will be getting a skilful and model professional willing to give his all on the pitch.