Jorginho reveals early conversations with Kai Havertz amid Mikel Arteta message to Arsenal board

Mikel Arteta's love affair with Jorginho goes back a long time. Even as an assistant coach at Manchester City he was pushing Pep Guardiola to sign the Italian, before trying twice to sign him as Arsenal manager. On deadline day of January 2023, he finally got his wish and it has proved to be worth the wait.

The Italian has proved many early doubters wrong to become a crucial member of this title-chasing Gunners squad and has already surpassed the 50 appearance mark. It's no surprise that Arteta is keen to gush about him at every chance he gets.

"I think there is no question about his contribution to the team," Arteta said of his midfield general on Friday. "The way he feels about his teammates, about the club, the way we play. He’s somebody that makes everybody else better."

It's safe to say the feeling is mutual and Jorginho says it is a crucial reason why he has chosen to extend his stay in north London.

"What he [Arteta] has been doing here since he joined has been incredible," the Italian says. "It is not just a coincidence where we are now. It is such a long process that he has been doing really well with the club, and now with the team, with the fans. The whole thing is working really well because everyone is looking in the same direction. Every little part that you add to the team is just to make the team better and achieve things."

Jorginho's new contract is only a year long - "for now," he says - but as things stand that coincides with when Arteta's deal at Arsenal is due to come to an end. The Spaniard has been linked to jobs elsewhere and refused to definitively commit to staying at the Emirates for the rest of his career when given the chance earlier this season. Jorginho, though, can't see Arteta going anywhere right now with what he's built at Arsenal.

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"I feel that he could stay way longer," he says. "I feel he feels good here and I honestly don’t see him going. It is really important for the club for him to stay because him with Edu and the board, the whole club, they created something special. I don’t believe he wants to go as well."

Someone who definitely is here to stay for the long-term at Arsenal is Declan Rice. The England midfielder has been sublime since he joined for a club-record fee last summer. One of the reasons Rice was so convinced to sign for Arsenal amid interest from Manchester City and Bayern Munich was to play alongside players like Jorginho. The 32-year-old has established himself as one of the best in the world in the deeper-lying role where Rice sees himself in the long run, and is all too happy to impart his wisdom on his potential successor.

"I think (Rice) is growing every single day," Jorginho says. "He is a humble guy, he wants to learn and he works hard so much and sometimes I tell him,’ you are running too much in training today, calm down a little bit’. He is like ‘Jori I just go’. I saye,’No no, save those legs a little bit’. He is an incredible player, he adds to any team in the world and we are glad he joined us."

That experienced knowhow is something that Jorginho has off the pitch as well as on it. The Italian has had to deal with doubters at more or less every single club he has signed for in his career and was able to offer a supportive voice for Kai Havertz when the German experienced the same after his arrival from Chelsea last summer.

"I always knew because I know Kai," he says. "That is part of the game as well, isn’t it? I spoke with him as well: ‘Stay calm, let them talk, keep doing your job as you always do. Work hard and you are going to come through this even better.’ And that is what has happened I think. And I am really happy for him. He is an amazing, amazing guy and he deserves everything to go really well for him."

With his future sorted for next season, Jorginho can now focus on ending this one in a strong manner. Arsenal are top of the table with two games remaining, but are still hoping Manchester City slip up in order to claim a first title in 20 years. The Premier League is one of the few trophies Jorginho is yet to win in his career, but he is insistent that Arsenal will take the title race down to the wire.

"The first thing is that we have to do is our part," he says. "Otherwise there is no point in even hoping. We need to win these two games - it is not going to be easy - and then they need to do their job. Very simple."