Mikel Arteta has been very impressed with Arsenal midfielder Jorginho following his arrival at the club in January, according to Charles Watts, and the Arsenal insider has also clarified the situation of Leandro Trossard, Eddie Nketiah and Folarin Balogun.
Arsenal raised eyebrows by signing Jorginho from London rivals Chelsea for £12m in the winter transfer window. It came after Arsenal failed to raid Brighton for priority target Moises Caicedo.
Jorginho made 16 appearances for Arsenal in the second half of last season and registered an assist, although he is yet to score his first goal for the club. He managed to leapfrog Thomas Partey and become a regular starter in the final few weeks of the campaign.
The Italy international has been linked with a move back to Serie A as Lazio are reportedly interested in him. But on June 28, Jorginho told Evening Standard he is ‘very happy to stay at Arsenal’, essentially shutting down rumors of an exit.
Watts has now revealed that Arteta has no intention of losing Jorginho either, as the 31-year-old will play an important role in the dressing room next term.
“They’re very pleased with how it’s worked out,” Watts told TEAMtalk. “I thought he was very good last season when he came in and he had replaced Partey in the side at the end of it. In the long term, if Partey stays, which is an ‘if’ at the moment, I will say Partey is likely to go back ahead of him in the pecking order, but I think Jorginho still has a very, very big role to play.
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“He’s really popular behind the scenes, he’s a massive figure and he’s established himself really quickly as a leader off the pitch at Arsenal. Mikel Arteta really likes him and the players really like him and I think He has a big role to play.
“It’s going to be such a game for Arsenal this season, especially when Champions League football comes back. Jorginho has all the experience you want to be able to handle and handle. He’s happy at Arsenal, I know that and I would be very very surprised if Jorginho was one of the players to leave between now and the end of the transfer window.
Leandro Trossard is going nowhere, as is Jorginho
Watts also discussed the future of Belgian striker Trossard. While the former Brighton ace may not start every game for Arsenal, he is ‘absolutely’ not a player Arteta will consider letting go.
“He’s very much in the equation, he’s really pushing for a starting spot and Trossard was absolutely superb last season when he came in,” Watts added. “It’s a travesty when Jesus got fit again and Trossard lost his place in the team that Arsenal were at a disadvantage because of that.
“Trossard had been so influential that I think he got something like 10 assists in the league between the signing and the end of the season. He only scored one, which was remarkable because it felt like he could have had six or seven. He was really unlucky, he hit the post four times, had a goal disallowed at Leicester, which was really unlucky.
“He played on Thursday in a friendly as a centre-forward, he’s played wide on the left, on the right and he can also play as an eight – technically excellent, there’s no chance of him leaving. He’s going to be a really big playing for Arsenal this season.
“I’m really excited to see what Trossard can bring to the team. He might not be a guaranteed starter. Certainly Martinelli and Saka are ahead of him out wide, and Jesus will probably start as a central striker, but Trossard will play a lot of games. Again, with Champions League football coming up, the need to rotate will be much stronger. Trossard would definitely not be one to consider going.”
Balogun could go, Nketiah to stay
Fellow striker Nketiah has been tipped to find a new club this summer. with West Ham among those eyeing him. But Watts gave the main reason for Nketiah staying, with one of his team-mates to be sold instead.
“[Folarin] Balogun is far more likely to go than Eddie [Nketiah] just because of the contract situation for both,” Watts revealed. “You have one on a long-term contract and one on a short-term contract.
“You’re very, very hot right now in terms of being a marketable asset. And the other one, a lot of teams want Nketiah, but a lot more teams are currently looking at Balogun.
“It’s very reminiscent of when Arsenal had Bernd Leno and Emi Martinez and one of them really had to go that summer to get some money in. And Martinez was a much more marketable asset at the time because Leno had been injured.Martinez had come in and was brilliant in the FA Cup.Many teams were looking at him so it was much easier for Arsenal to make money by selling Martinez.
“There’s a similar situation now with Balogun, who’s just more marketable than Eddie. If Arsenal were to sell him and keep Balogun, you risk having a player on a short-term contract who you might have to sell later on. So I think , Eddie stays and Balogun is more likely to go.
“But then again, if someone slapped £30-£40m on the table for Eddie Nketiah, I’m sure Arsenal will probably think about it.”
In the meantime Declan Rice has discussed his future plans for Arsenal following his £105m move. from West Ham was confirmed.