Soccer-Arsenal sign midfielder Jorginho from Chelsea

FILE PHOTO: Soccer Football - Premier League - Fulham v Chelsea - Craven Cottage, London, Britain - January 12, 2023 Chelsea's Jorginho looks dejected after the match REUTERS/David Klein

(Reuters) - Premier League leaders Arsenal have signed experienced Italian midfielder Jorginho from London rivals Chelsea on an 18-month contract, the club said on Tuesday.

Financial details of the transfer were not disclosed but British media reported the deal was worth 12 million pounds ($14.78 million).

"Jorginho is a midfield player with intelligence, deep leadership skills and a huge amount of Premier League and international experience," Arsenal head coach Mikel Arteta told the club's website.

"Jorginho has won in his career but he still has the hunger and huge willingness to contribute here. We are so pleased to sign Jorginho and welcome him and his family to the club."

Arsenal, who are five points clear of champions Manchester City in the title race, needed midfield reinforcements especially with Mohamed Elneny ruled out with a knee injury which the club said required surgery that will keep him sidelined for "an extended period of time".

Brazilian-born Jorginho will provide Arsenal with significant experience in their title charge, having won the Champions League with Chelsea and the 2020 European Championship with Italy.

The 31-year-old has been a key player for Chelsea this season, featuring 25 times in all competitions.

Jorginho also won the Europa League, three FA Cups and two League Cups in more than 200 appearances for Chelsea since joining them in July 2018 from Serie A side Napoli.

He spent 4-1/2 years at Napoli and enjoyed a breakthrough 2017-18 season, where he was integral to their title challenge as they finished second.

Arsenal made a late bid for Jorginho after they reportedly had two offers for Ecuador midfielder Moises Caicedo rejected by Brighton & Hove Albion.

Arsenal return to league action on Saturday against 19th-placed Everton, who appointed Sean Dyche as manager on Monday in a bid to secure their top-flight survival.

($1 = 0.8118 pounds)

(Reporting by Hritika Sharma and Martyn Herman; editing by Clare Fallon)

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