The new Firmino: Why Arsenal and Chelsea are both chasing 19-year-old Brazilian Kaio Jorge
There’s a new wave of young Brazilians who get compared to some of the most distinguished and talented players in football history. There’s even more excitement seeing them coming from the same clubs with the hope that they are destined for greatness.
One of the players that have caught the interest of many of the biggest European clubs is the 19-year-old Santos forward Kaio Jorge. A talented young attacker who has had an interesting youth career so far that transitioned into professional football equally successfully.
Having roots in futsal where he gained his technical skills and being a runner-up with Brazil’s U17 squad in the Under-17 FIFA World Cup in 2019, he was able to show his abilities and earn a spot in Santos’ first team.
All of that brought him under the radar of the city rivals Arsenal and Chelsea as well as some of the Serie A top contenders.
While he’s been compared to Liverpool’s Roberto Firmino due to his successful performance as a No 10, Jorge is quite versatile and contributes well from different positions in the final third.
In this scout report in the form of tactical analysis, we will examine what makes him that special that forces the Londoners’ rivalry off the pitch too. Our analysis will show what are his main traits and what is his role.
Santos’ tactics and his role in their attack
Santos’ attacking performance was quite solid throughout the 2020 season, but their defensive vulnerability is what took a toll on their final results. Using a few different formations (4-2-3-1; 4-1-4-1 and 4-3-3) has been a successful strategy in terms of their forward ventures.
Their distinguished success in the attacking set-plays made them unpredictable for their opponents. They are proficient in using the opposition’s aggressiveness for earning penalty shots, which they have been successfully converting into goals. The team scored 11 goals from set-pieces and 11 penalties in the 2020 season.
They’d include frequent crossing (14.94 crosses per game) in their tactics with a pretty high success rate of 36.3%. That’s where Jorge’s role becomes very important. Playing in different positions in the advanced areas has increased the team’s efficiency in front of the goal.
His natural position coming to the first team was a No. 10 but he was used in multiple positions since his arrival. Thanks to his versatility he was able to play in a centre-forward position, on the wings and even playing as a false nine. This allowed him to score nine goals in all competitions last term.
The team would often rely on creating chances from distance too, and Jorge himself is no stranger to shooting from outside the box, although his most successful efforts come from his positioning in the penalty area.
Spatial awareness and ball progression contribution
As mentioned, Jorge is quite versatile in terms of his role and positioning, which allows him to occupy wider areas in the opposition half. Despite his focus on the attacking actions the 19-year-old would often drop deeper to the central line to link up play and help with ball progression. His involvement in the team’s defensive actions also gets him to drop deeper quite frequently.
His spatial awareness allows him to exploit free spaces left by the opposition’s defence and makes him very efficient in the box where most of his efforts come from. As his 2020 heatmap shows, he also moves well into the half-spaces where he supports his teammates with more passing options and provides the team with more opportunities in the advanced areas.
His tendency to move in a false nine position allows him to do quick runs to the box but also helps by dragging defenders out of position and creating space for his teammates. His movement back gives him the chance to send long balls to the final third bypassing the opposition press.
Despite his forward position, the Brazilian is successfully involved in the team’s passing activities with 86.4% passing accuracy, which makes him extremely efficient both during the build-up and in the final third.
Technical skills and contribution with both feet
His passing efficiency combined with his ability to hold on to the ball makes him successful in both delivering the ball to goalscoring position and receiving it in such so he can score. His futsal background has affected his technical skills and his control on the ball is impressive.
What makes him successful in front of the goal is not only his smart positioning and confidence but also his ability to shoot with both feet. The youngster has proven that he takes advantage of his opportunities and wouldn’t risk wasting on a chance. Although he is naturally right-footed, he has proven his abilities to score goals both with his left and right foot. His 1.61 shots on average per game add value to the team’s attacking performance, but his movement and ball progression contribution are what makes him truly beneficial.
Despite being able to shoot with both feet, his finishing is something the player could improve on. Many of his efforts are wasted due to his timing which needs to be worked on. While he has the vision and the abilities his decision-making and speed need to improve in order to convert his chances into goals. Anticipating his opponents’ movement would help him a lot in increasing his efficiency in front of the goal.
One of his similarities with Firmino is his defensive contribution. He frequently contributes to Santos’ pressing efforts and pressurises the opposition in efforts to block their build-up and recover the ball. His 2.84 recoveries on average per 90 help the team in gaining back possession of the ball in the advanced areas and gives more chances for counter-attacking.
Another attribute of Jorge is his aerial presence. His height doesn’t stop him from contributing to the team’s actions in the air. He averages 5.69 aerials per 90 which help the team in retaining possession and creating more chances on the goal. His defensive actions set him apart from the other players in his position. His contribution during transitions is underline by his 4.25 defensive duels per game too.
The youngster is wanted from both sides of London with both Arsenal and Chelsea having some decisions to make with their attacking formations. Some of the teams’ current players’ contracts expire in the upcoming year and it’s very important that they make the right choices and moves on the transfer market to secure attacking additions.