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Jorginho’s agent confirms Chelsea links, among others, but is he just angling for a better contract?

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Negotiating with Napoli through the press from Brazil — that’s modern football for you

SSC Napoli v Spal - Serie A Photo by Maurizio Lagana/Getty Images

The agent for Napoli’s midfield maestro Jorginho is trying to get someone’s attention. The question is, whose? A week ago The Times linked the Brazilian to every big club in England, including Chelsea. Manchester City, who need a new play-making central midfielder, were touted as the favorite to land him for around €60 million.

On Thursday the agent, Joao Santos, publicly confirmed most of that report on Napoli radio station CRC. But if you play close attention to his language, perhaps a different picture emerges. Take a look at the quotes:

“I’m in Brazil, nobody called me from Naples, but they called me the English teams, Liverpool, Manchester City but also Arsenal and Chelsea

“Open negotiations? It depends on Naples and the sports director Giuntoli. Sure it is not difficult to find agreements with teams of this type. I do not know if a possible goodbye of Sarri would accelerate the goodbye of Jorginho, if for Naples it will be positive to capitalize on the offers, then we will talk, I do not know if the future of Jorginho depends on the permanence or otherwise of Sarri .“

-Joao Santos; source Radio CRC via Corriere dello Sport

That last bit is a reference to reports that Napoli coach Sarri and Jorginho might be joined at the hip, at least if Sarri moves.

But it’s the other stuff that may be the real story. We don’t doubt that top teams are interested in the player — he’s been terrific for Sarri. However, he’s 26 years old, his contract expires in two years and he’s currently on €75,000-a-week wages. That’s a fortune to you and me, but for an in-demand player at the top of his game, it’s a steal.

The whole scenario bears some resemblance to Eden Hazard’s, who’s just a year older. As Hazard himself said, the next contract he signs will likely be his last big one. The same is probably true for Jorginho. And, like Hazard, it doesn’t do a player any good to commit to his current club if he wants to leverage a bigger contract out of them.

Hazard can dangle Real Madrid as his suitor. Santos can quadruple that and who’s going to call him a liar?

So while it would be dangerous to think that there isn’t serious interest in Jorginho from Blighty, what’s really going on may be his agent trying to extract a nice, new fat contract out of eternally irascible Napoli president Aurelio de Laurentiis, so he can stay where he’s comfortable and continue to play for the coach who made him a star.

Or, more succinctly, he’s pulling a Kalidou Koulibaly.