Signing a player, only to then limit the number of chances you give him and then possibly sell him for a loss is poor transfer business, right? Well, that’s exactly the type of situation that Danny Drinkwater is facing at Chelsea.
Since his £35 million move to Stamford Bridge, Drinkwater has made a mere 23 appearances for the Blues and it’s hard to put your finger on why he’s played such a bit-part role at the club. Maurizio Sarri’s stubbornness meant Drinkwater didn’t make a single competitive appearance for Chelsea last season. And with Chelsea struggling for consistency in midfield last season, it makes you wonder why the former Leicester City man didn’t get a chance.
Jorginho and Mateo Kovacic both struggled last season, as they faced numerous issues. Jorginho often struggled in defensive areas, so with Drinkwater performing so admirably for Leicester in front of their defence during the club’s title victory in 2016, it’s hard to think why Sarri couldn’t just play the Englishman alongside the Italian midfielder to add extra steel in front of a leaky defence.
It wasn’t just Jorginho underperforming. Kovacic struggled massively last season, getting no goal and just three assists in all competitions.
Given the fact Drinkwater hasn’t made consistent appearances since joining Chelsea, it would be hard to compare him during his Chelsea career to Kovacic. So, using Drinkwater’s final season with Leicester City (2016/2017), and comparing it to Kovacic would be best. The 29-year-old Drinkwater trumps Kovacic in every single defensive aspect of the game, as well as coming close to matching him in every attacking aspect of the game.
With Jorginho lacking key defensive traits and Kovacic lacking for any sort of consistency overall, it’s difficult to see what was stopping Sarri from playing Drinkwater. However, with Frank Lampard seemingly about to replace Sarri at Stamford Bridge, and Chelsea needing to meet the criteria for homegrown players in the Champions League, Drinkwater may yet get the chance to prove himself at the club.