As is the case with most Premier League outfits, Chelsea have made a series of questionable signings, and the 2017 summer deadline-day move for Leicester City’s Danny Drinkwater epitomises the trend of panic buying.
First and foremost, Danny Drinkwater is an accomplished player. As is well renowned he formed an integral relationship with N’Golo Kante during Leicester’s logic-defying title triumph, and he proved to be a dependable figure during the Foxes’ resultant participation in the Champions League, the most prestigious tournament in club football.
Having failed to impose himself at Manchester United, and having been forced to continually readapt at four different teams, three of which were in the Championship, Leicester proved to be his haven, the providers of solidity and continuity that had been severely lacking in his career.
Nonetheless, during his spell with the Foxes, his performances did not indicate that his services warranted the staggering fee of £35M that Chelsea allegedly paid Leicester. The Englishman is a technically adept player and a particularly skilled passer of the ball, but his move to South West London was another example of the hyperinflation that football has been subjected to.
The fact that Drinkwater has only made 23 appearances in all competitions since joining the Blues, with only 12 in the Premier League is indicative of his current disposition at Chelsea. Most significantly, he has just made one appearance for Maurizio Sarri this term, appearing for half-an-hour in the Community Shield shield defeat to Manchester City. A Chelsea side that was stripped considerably of its leading cast.
Naturally, having only been named on the bench once this season, the papers have been inundated with reports of his expected departure. And, yet, contrary to most anticipations, Danny Drinkwater is allegedly in no hurry to conclude his Chelsea tenure. Frankly, why should he be in a hurry?
It’s widely considered that Chelsea overpaid for his signature, another systemic problem that occurs when a manager isn’t adequately backed, yet it’s not Drinkwater’s fault that the club were willing to part with such a substantial amount of money for his services.
Similarly, at the age of 28, and having not featured for his national team for two years, why should the Manchester United youth product be keen to conclude his association with one of the world’s most recognisable clubs? Unless the midfielder undergoes a similarly astonishing transformation to that of James Milner, who in his later years is seemingly growing in stature and influence, Drinkwater will never be able to play for a club of the Blues’ repute again.
One must retain a sense of realism and appreciate that Drinkwater – valued at £18million by transfermarkt.com – won’t ever become a permanent fixture in a Chelsea team that flaunts one of Europe’s most decorated midfields, yet, concurrently, this doesn’t render his presence null.
His current status within Maurizio Sarri’s squad is most definitely unfavourable, but he has the necessary quality to contribute if called upon. The last time that the Blues were involved in the Europa League, they totalled an astonishing number of 69 games over the entirety of the 2012/13 season. Accordingly, such varied participation ensures commitment from all corners of one’s squad, and Sarri would be foolish to disregard fringe options indefinitely.
Most significant of all is money, Drinkwater hasn’t featured in a competitive match for Chelsea since March, yet, it’s reported that he’s earning a figure of £100,000-per-week. Given his restricted involvement, it’s implausible that a potential suitor would be willing to grant the 28-year-old a similar contract. Thus, Drinkwater is well within his rights to elongate his stay with the London club.
For the longevity of his career, and in the context of his progression, it would be encouraging if Sarri were willing to entrust Drinkwater with minutes, even if they arise in games that are deemed insignificant. In the meantime, no one can blame the Englishman for staying put.
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