Rarely a day passes without an argument breaking out over whether JJ is the real deal. Few doubt his quality, but it would be hard to argue that he consistently performs to the best of his ability. However, that could all be about to change.
One of the top targets, pretty much since Michael Carrick left, has been a midfield lynch pin, a pivot the rest of the midfield, and arguably the rest of the team, uses to take their positions in any given situation. We want a quick, commanding, hard tackling player who can lead, pass, create, and preferably speaks English, with Premiership experience. Not much to ask, surely?
One of Jenas’ strengths has been his box to box play, but by foregoing his attacking instincts JJ could be become that player that we have been looking for. He might not stand out as much as the attacking players around him, but he could end up being as, if not more, important to the team. With Bentley, Modric and dos Santos, as well as the attacking full backs we have, we will not miss his runs forward, although he also has that in his locker to spring a surprise if the opportunity presents itself.
Now vice-captain and with a new contract, his maturity and level headedness is evident in the interviews he gives. If he can show the leadership that will come with being captain when King is away there will be no need to buy another midfield player. He might not have the reputation of a Makelele, the passing of a Pirlo or the tenacity of a Hargreaves, but his reinvention could see him turn out to be the most important player of our season, although many may never know it.