Napoli’s midfield controller could be a perfect fit to finish Brazil’s national team puzzle, but Tite needs to move fast for the Serie A sensation
Brazil ended the South American qualifiers in style, hammering Chile by three goals in São Paulo. There is not much criticism that the Brazilian press can afford to dish out to team coach Tite, aside from concerns over repeating the mistake of peaking a year too early before the World Cup.
Having said that, it is the midfield department that fans are most worried about. Following his six goals under the tutelage of Tite, and his move to FC Barcelona, Paulinho seems to be growing in popularity. Meanwhile, the idea of partnering him up with Renato Augusto is still far from being the dream team that Brazil fans want to see.
In the middle of this conflict, the topic of Jorginho has appeared out of the blue. The Napoli man, who has represented Italy twice, has signaled that he would accept a Seleção call-up. His agent even hinted that Tite could monitor the midfielder in Tuesday’s Champions League tie at Manchester City.
Legally speaking, Jorginho is eligible to represent Brazil’s national team, because he has never taken part in any official tournament, nor qualifier, with Italy. If he was to make the switch to the South American giants, then he would not be able to reverse his decision. With Italy boss Gian Piero Ventura having closed the door on the Napoli star, a contact with the CBF could well be the only remaining factor separating Jorginho from wearing the yellow jersey.
Here is where the debate reaches its peak. According to Brazilian reports, Tite admires Jorginho’s passing but sees him as a defensive midfielder, which means that he would have to share the same position as Casemiro and Fernandinho, who both look set to take the plane to Russia.
Jorginho is arguably the most important player for the Serie A league leaders. His ability to control and dictate the tempo of the game, is second to none in the league. While it is true that he plies his trade in the same position that a defensive midfielder usually does, Jorginho is not a traditional primeiro volante.
He only shares the same position, but his function is completely different. In Maurizio Sarri’s system, the defensive midfielder, often referred to as regista, is the player responsible for orchestrating play, whereas in Brazilian culture, he is the one who must offer protection for the back-line and balance for the rest of the midfielders.
It is his compatriot Allan, who does the dirty work, allowing Jorginho to concentrate on his primary task of dictating play. It is in this sense, similar to the famous Pirlo – Gattuso partnership during their glory days at AC Milan.
Jorginho does not impose himself as an automatic fit in Tite’s system. However, if the veteran tactician, who is not usually a fan of trying players in positions they have not mastered at club-level, ever decides to give Jorginho the opportunity to prove himself in a more advanced role, Brazil’s national team could well have one of the best controllers in the world.
Casemiro and Toni Kroos have worked wonders at Real Madrid, it is worth giving Jorginho a chance, in the worst case, as Renato Augusto’s back-up. If the Napoli-man isn’t a clear upgrade in Tite’s scheme for 2018, Brazil should look to him for future competitions, as he is only 25-years-old.
Will the Brazilian Football Association be smart enough in handling Jorginho’s case, or will the Amarelinha lose him to a European national team as was the case with many other top talents in recent times?