AN incredible eight wins from eight games mean Napoli are the shock early Serie A leaders with Dries Mertens’ form stealing the headlines.
Seven goals in as many starts for the Belgian make that understandable.
But further back there is a player who has been every bit as important but finds himself under the radar.
Italian international Jorginho has been the unsung hero of Maurizio Sarri’s side and over the summer he was an Arsenal transfer target.
But who is he? Our friends at Football Whispers profile the man who’s making the Partenopei tick.
Who is Jorginho and where does he come from?
It appears Jorginho is not a popular man at the moment.
Despite his sublime form for Napoli, Italy coach Gian Piero Ventura refuses to select the Brazil-born 25-year-old for a competitive fixture.
And with his peers he is every bit as unpopular.
Roma midfielder Radja Nainggolan said prior to his side’s 1-0 loss against Napoli on Saturday: “I hate playing Jorginho.
“Everytime I do, I’m conditionally dead afterwards. Yet, he almost doesn’t move.”
The statistics make for impressive reading, too.
Going into the eighth round of Serie A fixtures, no-one has made more accurate passes (2,024) than Jorginho in any of Europe’s top five league this season.
He had also completed the second-most passes (159) in a single match this season.
Only Borussia Dortmund centre-back Omer Toprak (171) had managed more in Europe’s top-five leagues.
Despite those numbers, Azzurri boss Ventura has only handed Jorginho two caps since he became eligible to play for the country he has lived in for the last ten years.
Born in Imbituba, Brazil, Jorginho’s grandparents are Italian and he qualifies through them.
The family moved to northern Italy in 2007 and, after representing the Azzurri at Under-21 level, he made his intention to turn out for the full side clear.
“So far I haven’t had to make a choice, because I didn’t receive any offers,” Jorginho told the Corriere dello Sport in 2014.
“I can say the Azzurri jersey is clearly on top of my preferences.
“I’d have no doubts, I would immediately accept a call from Coverciano (the Italian Football Federation headquarters).”
After missing out on a place at the 2014 World Cup as he was not yet naturalised – despite possessing an Italian passport – Jorginho has had to be patient.
He was finally handed his Italy debut in March, coming off the bench in a 1-1 draw with Spain, before making his second substitute appearance in a 1-0 win over Scotland two months later.
But that – remarkably for someone of his ability – is the sum total of his international career to date.
Reports have emerged in Italy suggesting Jorginho would consider switching allegiance to Brazil if Ventura isn’t keen.
But his agent, Joao Santos told Radio Crc: “In all the years I’ve been in the football world I’ve never heard of such absurdity.
“Jorginho, moreover, wouldn’t even be allowed to make that phone call.
“At the moment neither of the two has called him, he’ll choose the first national team that calls him. We’re waiting for November for the next matches.”
While his international future is in doubt, Jorginho’s ability is not.
The smooth-passing midfielder, who has been likened to Barcelona legend Xavi and World Cup-winner Xabi Alonso, joined Verona after moving to Italy.
He spent three years in the club’s youth setup before making his breakthrough in 2010 in a season-long loan spell at Serie C2 side AC Sambonifacese where he racked up 10 assists in 31 outings.
The following season Jorginho returned to the Stadio Marc’Antonio Bentegodi and helped Verona to the Serie B playoffs.
A year later I Gialloblu won automatic promotion to the top tier of Italian football.
After scoring seven times in just 18 starts he was snapped up on a co-ownership agreement by Napoli.
In his first season at the San Paolo, Jorginho helped his new club win the Coppa Italia, starting the 3-1 final win over Fiorentina.
Since then Jorginho, along with Napoli, has gone from strength to strength.
This term he has averaged more passes per game (101.3) than anyone else in Serie A and 20 more than Giorgio Chiellini who has the next best average.
Furthermore, his pass success rate of 92.3 per cent is the seventh-best of all the players to start at least five Serie A fixtures this season.
How much would Jorginho cost?
Given his age, importance to Napoli and status as an – albeit occasional – Italy international, Jorginho is unlikely to come cheap.
The Partenopei could reasonably demand a fee of at least £45million for the midfielder, especially if he continues to play such an integral role in their title bid.
Arsenal are just one side rumoured to be interested in Jorginho.
Where is his most likely destination next summer?
Juventus have tended to hoover up the best of Serie A’s talent from rival clubs since they reclaimed their seat at the top table of Italian football.
It was the Old Lady, after all, who snapped up striker Gonzalo Higuain from Napoli in 2016.
Max Allegri’s side are, therefore, the domestic club most likely to come in for Jorginho.
There are few – if any – Premier League clubs who wouldn’t instantly benefit from signing Jorginho and Arsenal are certainly one side who would be bolstered by his arrival.
Chelsea, too, are short of central midfielders and Antonio Conte will be aware of the quality the Napoli man possesses from his time as coach of Italy and Juve.