Chelsea

Transfer Battle: Jorginho vs Mateo Kovacic

Maurizio Sarri has made almost the perfect start to life at Chelsea with the Blues currently firing on all fronts.

The west London club are second in the Premier League, top of their Europa League group and are still in the Carabao Cup after a fantastic Eden Hazard goal saw off the challenge of Liverpool in the third round.

Under Sarri, the Belgian has seemingly gone up another level and will be key to any future success Chelsea are to have with their new boss.

But as well as Hazard, summer signing Jorginho has also been hugely influential on the pitch playing alongside Mateo Kovacic, who, too, arrived during the transfer window and has made an early impression.

With that in mind, which midfielder will prove to be the better addition?

Jorginho

Prior to the beginning of the new campaign, Jorginho had looked nailed on to join Manchester City with Pep Guardiola having identified the Brazilian-born Italy international as the man to improve the base of his midfield.

However, the Premier League champions were gazumped by Chelsea after the Blues struck a deal with Napoli that would see Jorginho follow Sarri to Stamford Bridge.

And the decision to hijack Guardiola’s move for the 26-year-old is easily one of the best transfer market manoeuvres Roman Abramovich has made in years.

From a deep-lying midfield position, Jorginho has been pulling all the strings and dictating the tempo in Chelsea’s games thus far, smashing a bunch of passing records in the process.

The arrival of Jorginho, though, has seen star midfielder N’Golo Kante pushed into a more unfamiliar and attacking midfield role, which has irked some Chelsea supporters.

But in order for Sarri’s system to produce results, there needs to be a regista rather than a destroyer at the base of midfield, and there is possibly not one better than Jorginho in world football right now.

The former Napoli man has truly transformed Chelsea and, while not everyone has yet to be convinced with his position on the pitch, he has been a world-class addition to the squad.

TT Grade: A

Mateo Kovacic

Like Jorginho, Kovacic is the type of midfielder recent Chelsea squads under Antonio Conte and Jose Mourinho have lacked.

The Croatia international is a technically gifted midfield man, able to dribble and pass the ball exceptionally well, in contrast to the likes of Nemanja Matic and Kante whose games have mainly been about breaking down attacks rather than starting them.

Kovacic’s arrival at Stamford Bridge comes after his growing frustration of being a bench player at Real Madrid, and the 24-year-old now looks to be in an environment he can thrive in.

On the left side of Sarri’s midfield three, Kovacic has been the team’s go to man for transitions. The ex-Inter Milan man collects the ball from Jorginho and defenders before dribbling through an opposition’s press so well.

Back in July (via Metro), Sarri stressed he was lacking a midfielder with certain characteristics, an individual who could play between the lines. But in Kovacic, he now has that for at least this campaign.

TT Grade: A-

TT Verdict:

The transformation Chelsea’s midfield has gone through with the arrivals of Jorginho and Kovacic has been incredible.

The sell of Nemanja Matic to Manchester United and signing of flop Tiemoue Bakayoko from AS Monaco had weakened the Blues significantly in the middle of the park.

But that area is now arguably the team’s strongest if the Blues’ first eight Premier League games are anything to go by.

In terms of importance, though, Jorginho is quite clearly the essential component in making things tick in Sarri’s system, making him the victor in this battle of midfielders.

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