Former Liverpool target dropped from squad for Swansea tie

Stadio San Paolo

Napoli's January purchase Jorginho won’t be facing Premier League opposition this month as expected.

The Brazilian-Italian has been omitted from the squad submitted by Napoli boss Rafael Benitez to face Swansea City in the Europa League round of 32.

A product of the Hellas Verona youth academy, the 22-year-old courted major interest last month after getting off to a flying start in his maiden Serie A campaign.

Zenit St Petersburg boss Luciano Spalletti was reportedly keen to take him to Russia, but Liverpool and Napoli emerged as prime suitors instead.

Aurelio De Laurentiis’ club moved quickly to secure the youngster’s services – fighting off a last-gasp effort from the Reds – to take a coveted talent and improve a midfield in need of reinforcements.

But after just two appearances from the bench in Serie A and a Coppa Italia starting berth against Lazio, Benitez has chosen to leave his heralded new signing out of the continental fray opposite the Swans.

It’s a curious choice, especially considering that the Spanish coach has prioritised the Europa League after a disheartening Champions League exit earlier this term.

Jorginho’s agent has insisted the lack of inclusion in Europe isn’t a setback – maintaining focus on the league and cup at the San Paolo.

“The boy is not demoralised,” Joao Santos told Tuttomercatoweb. “I heard it today and he was focused on the cup match against Roma.

“Benitez is a trained coach and made his choice because he considered the midfield already to be covered, even in comparison to other areas.

“Jorginho arrived to do his best for Napoli and Benitez has chosen to take advantage of him more in the league and Coppa Italia.”

Seemingly it’s just a matter of time before Benitez is made to answer for his decision to leave out his star capture, at which point something unknown may come to light.

Napoli will travel to the Liberty Stadium on February 20 for the first leg of the two-legged tie against Swansea, the Welsh outfit set to visit southern Italy a week later for the penultimate 90 minutes.

image: © SheaAk

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