After Kaio Jorge jetted into Turins Caselle Airport on Wednesday, Oli Coates takes a closer look at the Brazilian teenager’s blossoming career and asks where he’ll fit into the Juventus team.

Kaio Jorge has already been through a lot in his nascent career. Still only 19, the Olinda-born forward has been setting tongues wagging for several years already. The clamour for his signature saw Serie A giants Juventus win the race, but what are the Old Lady getting for their money?

The first thing you’d probably say is that they could be getting the bargain of the century. Santos are in dire financial straits, and with Kaio entering the final months of his contract, have settled for a total fee only worth around €3m for their latest teenage prodigy. The club where Brazil icons Pele and Neymar started out, Santos, are surely feeling a little hard done by right now. The 19-year-old rejected Santos’ contract extension offer in January 2020, looking for a move to Europe and Juventus gave him the chance he wanted. However, the Bianconeri were not alone.

Santos President reveals details of Kaio Jorge’s Juventus move

Portuguese outfit Benfica made an offer worth two to three times the amount of Juve’s. Milan had also been in talks with the Brazilian club and the player’s entourage. However, the player turned down a move to the Estadio da Luz, choosing to head straight for the bright lights of one of the planet’s biggest clubs.

That decision has made a pariah of Kaio within certain sections of the Santos fanbase. And maybe even among the club hierarchy, given their financial struggles. The Benfica offer had been accepted, with supporters attacking their former starlet as ungrateful. There is nothing like a football fan scorned, after all.

Yet amid the abuse, it was notable that fans of other Brazilian clubs wished him well and implored Kaio to join their club should his European adventure not go to plan. Those sentiments were based on the talented youngster’s performances over the last year, as he helped Santos go all the way to the final of the Copa Libertadores in January, where they lost 1-0 to Palmeiras at the death.

Kaio was substituted in the 93rd minute of the Copa Libertadores Final with the game still goalless before Breno Lopes’s dramatic winner in the ninth minute of stoppage time. It was nearly a fairytale moment for Kaio, who’d become the sixth youngster player in Santos history when he made his first-team debut in September 2018.

Video: Kaio Jorge arrives in Turin

The prodigy signed his first professional contract a few months later but wouldn’t score his first goal for the club until the following March. It came on his Copa Libertadores debut against Defensa y Justicia, the second in a 2-1 victory away to the Argentine outfit.

Kaio would go on to score a total of five goals in 12 appearances in that year’s tournament, accounting for more than half of his nine goals for the season from 48 appearances across all competitions. That level of return is indicative of how this latest Brazilian sensation plays, as he is much more than a central striker who waits for chances to come his way.

Both performances and scoring records among teenagers are usually inconsistent, with goals often coming in patches. Yet Kaio’s contribution gowns far beyond getting his name on the scoresheet. He likes dropping deep and into wide positions, finding space between the lines to bring teammates into play. He’s also blessed with plenty of pace, making him a real threat on the break and when running at defences.

Kaio averaged 0.4 tackles per game in the last Campeonato Brasileiro and has been compared to Liverpool forward Roberto Firmino, who is known for his work rate and unselfish nature. The latter could be a key trait if Kaio wishes to break into the Juventus starting XI sooner rather than later.

Despite finishing as the top scorer in Serie A last season, and netting 101 goals in just 133 appearances for the Bianconeri so far, Cristiano Ronaldo’s time in Turin is yet to be judged a roaring success. The team isn’t built around him in the same way it was during his time at Real Madrid, but that needs to change if Juve are to get the very best out of the Portuguese superstar.

Ronaldo had Karim Benzema doing a lot of the dirty work at the Santiago Bernabeu, with the Frenchman’s role focused on complementing his free-scoring teammate. At Manchester United, players such as Wayne Rooney and Carlos Tevez were the workhorses. The likes of Paulo Dybala, Alvaro Morata and Federico Chiesa don’t on the whole play in the sort of unselfish manner upon which Ronaldo has often depended.

If the returning Max Allegri can build his team around Ronaldo more successfully than Maurizio Sarri and Andrea Pirlo did over the last two seasons, Juventus will have a great chance of reclaiming the Scudetto from Inter. Especially if the Nerazzurri lose their own goal machine, Romelu Lukaku, who’s been strongly linked with a return to Chelsea this summer.

Could Kaio Jorge be a key part of the puzzle? That’s going to be difficult at such a tender age, and with the incredible level of competition for places at the Allianz Stadium. Yet the Brazilian can operate in a number of positions, boasting the pace to play out wide as well as through the middle.

This gives him the chance to fit into a number of Allegri’s preferred formations. The Italian coach started off by favouring a 3-5-2 in his first stint at Juve, with Kaio potentially operating as the perfect foil for Ronaldo in a front two. He can play out wide, or through the middle in a 4-3-3, which was the system Allegri reverted to when Ronaldo arrived at the club in 2018.

In the previous season, Juve set up in a 4-2-3-1 on many occasions, and this is a formation that may return in the coming campaign. Kaio could operate anywhere across this frontline, and with four attacking positions to fill, it could afford him the best opportunity to maximise his time on the pitch.

However, Kaio will have to impress his new coach in training and show an ability to work alongside Ronaldo. His displays for Santos appear to show he can do just that. He’s going to need patience, but if he keeps building up the minutes as the season progresses, Kaio could quickly make a mockery of his €3m price tag.


2 thought on “Who is Kaio Jorge and how could Juventus line up with him?”
  1. no it certainly does not need to change to build around ronaldo! we`ve had three seasons making him look good at the detrement of the whole team, we`ve been statistically worse since he arrived (goal difference not to mention morale and new toxic `fans`). social media numbers don`t win trophies

  2. martinn, thank you. I agree with all your points, can’t wait for his exit so Juve can get back to being a real team.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *