In some Danny Drinkwate transfer news, the midfielder is siad to have requested a transfer after strong interest from Chelsea. Chelsea are looking for depth in the central midfield area and are said to have already had two bids rejected. Drinkwater only signed a new contract with Leicester last summer, keeping him tied to the club until 2021.
Reported Transfer Fee: £40mil
2016/17 League Stats: 27 starts (2 sub appearances) 1 goal (1 assist)
Verdict: Drinkwater has been one of a long list of footballers with their future up the air in this transfer window. He hasn’t featured this season, reportedly injured. I expect Leicester want his future resolved first so there can be no question-marks over commitment should he return to the fold though.
Chelsea seem to have been consistently linked since they sold Matic to Man Utd. It’s no secret that Conte wants to strengthen the squad with greater demands this upcoming season such as European football. Bakayoko has been signed from Monaco but sensibly it appears that Chelsea want to go into the season with at least four recognised central midfielders. In terms of numbers, at the moment, they are not much better off than last season.
As discussed recently with Mahrez, Drinkwater is another who had a disappointing season, especially in comparison to the title winning year. His influence in games was much reduced and many games seemed to pass him by. Despite his deep-lying role his stats took a disappointing turn as a result with only 1 goal and 1 assist in comparison to 2 goals and 7 assists the year before. That year he showed a great range of passing and linked up particularly well with Vardy. Their natural understanding of each others games was one of the keys to Leicester winning the league. Drinkwater picked out Vardy’s runs from deep with uncanny regularity.
Another partnership just, if not more, important to Leicester’s triumph was that of Drinkwater and Kante. They seemed to compliment each other’s games perfectly in centre-midfield. Both have the physical ability and desire to cover the pitch, which in this day and age of three man midfields is a rarity. Whilst even though Kante is good with the ball, his ability to break up play and read the game is his main strength and was the ideal foil for Drinkwater whose game is more about picking a pass. Without doubt Conte and Chelsea have identified this.
Looking at the players in Chelsea’s midfield individually, I’d have to say Drinkwater is the fourth best. Kante has proven himself over the last couple of seasons to be arguably the best in the league. Even though Conte isn’t Fabregas’ biggest admirer he too seems to always contribute with important goals and assists when called upon. Whilst Bakayoko has the physical attributes to dominate games in England, he is just a bit raw and inexperienced when it comes to Premiership football but the talent is there.
That’s not to say I think any of that is going to be particularly important however as the partnership could be the deciding factor. With Kante pretty much nailed on to play, Drinkwater could once again be seen as the perfect partner. This could be the real reason why Chelsea are reportedly comfortable with paying the arguably over inflated price of £40mil for a player with only one season of Champions League football under his belt and no international career of note to date. At worst he will be used in rotation so should Chelsea finally break Leicester’s resolve, I’m sure he’ll get decent game-time regardless.
Drinkwater has made it clear he wants to move and if Chelsea get closer to Leicester’s asking price surely he will leave. It will be interesting to see how he copes at Chelsea should he move. I have some doubts over his ability to make the step up. So despite the lateness in the transfer window and the hard time Leicester will have in replacing Drinkwater (should they think they need to, Matty James has returned from injury and is now playing in the ‘Drinkwater role’) For me, Leicester could very well end up the biggest benefactors in such a deal as £40mil seems a bit steep.
I think I’d be more surprised if this one falls through.
Drinkwater, good buy? Bad buy? Who will be the biggest winners in any deal, Chelsea or Leicester? Comment below.