Arsenal confirm £12m Jorginho signing after accepting defeat on Caicedo

Arsenal have signed the Chelsea midfielder Jorginho for £12m after accepting they could not convince Brighton to sell Moisés Caicedo.

The Premier League leaders have been trying to add depth in midfield after losing Mohamed Elneny to a knee injury and moved for Jorginho after failing with two bids for Caicedo. Negotiations with Chelsea progressed quickly and the Italy international, whose contract was due to expire at the end of the season, was confirmed as an Arsenal player just under three hours before deadline. The fee is a guaranteed £10m with the rest in add-ons.

Related: Transfer deadline day: Chelsea close on Fernández, Arsenal move for Jorginho – live

“I was a bit surprised, but I took the opportunity of this amazing challenge,” Jorginho said. “It’s an important shirt. It’s an amazing club.”

Chelsea, who finally made a breakthrough with Benfica over a deal for Enzo Fernández, are receiving money for a player who could have left for free in the summer. Arsenal have given Jorginho an 18-month deal with the option of an extra year and hope that signing someone of the 31-year-old’s experience will boost their title push. Mikel Arteta tried to sign him in the summer of 2020.

“He was a big influence,” Jorginho said of Arteta, “because I know that he tried a few times to get me before and it didn’t happen due to other reasons, not because of my wishes.”

Arsenal had placed much of their focus on trying to buy Caicedo but had their latest offer of £70m for the Ecuador midfielder turned away. Chelsea remain interested in Caicedo, but Brighton, who have sold Leandro Trossard to Arsenal two weeks ago, are determined to keep the 21-year-old.

Brighton’s stance forced Arsenal, who will still target West Ham’s Declan Rice in the summer, to look elsewhere in pursuit of cover for Thomas Partey and Granit Xhaka. There is a lack of trust in Albert Sambi Lokonga, has joined Crystal Palace on loan. Partey picked up a minor injury during the defeat by Manchester City in the fourth round of the FA Cup and Arsenal said on Tuesday that Elneny had undergone surgery on a “significant” injury. He may not play again this season.

In that context it is easy to see why Jorginho appeals. The midfielder has often divided opinion at Chelsea, but he played a key role in them winning the Champions League in 2021. He also helped Italy win Euro 2020.

Tottenham have signed Jude Soonsup-Bell from Chelsea. The 19-year-old striker’s contract was due to expire at the end of the season.