Leicester City supporters have been pretty downbeat in recent times after seeing their team bow out of the Carabao Cup at the quarter-final stage on Tuesday night.
Claude Puel’s men went into their encounter with defending champions Manchester City having got past Fleetwood Town, Wolves, and Southampton in previous rounds, thus setting up a meeting with Pep Guardiola’s Citizens in the last eight for the second successive season. And this year’s clash followed a similar pattern to the one 12 months ago as City led through Kevin De Bruyne only to be pegged back by Marc Albrighton’s equaliser, forcing a penalty shootout from which Guardiola’s team again emerged victorious.
Thus, there have been many despondent Leicester fans up and down the country in recent times, although several are hoping for even more improvement from their side as the season wears on given how busy they were during the summer transfer window.
In fact, the club were praised greatly for the business they conducted during the close season, a little bit like they were back in the summer of 2017 when manager-at-the-time Craig Shakespeare sanctioned Danny Drinkwater’s departure to Chelsea for a staggering £34.11 million (as per Transfermarkt).
And having signed the midfielder for just £810,000 (as per Transfermarkt) back in January 2012, Shakespeare’s decision to let him leave represented a fine return for the Foxes, with the Midlands outfit proving to be the only winners from such exit given Drinkwater’s struggles at Stamford Bridge.
Ultimately, there is little doubting that the Englishman was a fine servant to Leicester during his five-and-a-half year stint at the King Power Stadium, helping take them from the Championship into the top-flight, keeping them there under Nigel Pearson in 2014/15, before remarkably helping them win the Premier League title the season after under Claudio Ranieri.
And in striking up a wonderful partnership with N’Golo Kante in that title-winning campaign, Drinkwater firmly established himself as a hugely accomplished central midfielder at Premier League level – there’s a reason he also earned three England caps in 2016.
And while he wasn’t perhaps at his best throughout the 2016/17 season, perhaps suggesting that he needed Kante alongside him to really produce the goods, he still remained a lynchpin at the Midlands outfit, which is why losing him in the summer of 2017 to Chelsea was something of a blow.
But in making a very healthy £30.3 million profit on the 28-year-old, alongside his subsequent struggles at the West London outfit, it has proven to be a Shakespeare masterstroke.
Quite simply, the Englishman has flopped greatly at Stamford Bridge with only 23 appearances to his name in 18 months at the club, just one of which has come under Maurizio Sarri this term to underline just how low down he is in the midfield pecking order – and that solitary appearance came in the Community Shield back in August.
Even alongside Kante at times in the last year-and-a-half, Drinkwater has looked a shadow of the player that helped Leicester win the title back in 2016 – that £34.11 million price-tag is looking very baffling indeed.
And with Leicester themselves not overly struggling in the middle of the park following his exit, with the likes of Wilfred Ndidi, Daniel Amartey, Vicente Iborra, and Adrien Silva stepping up, it’s not as if the Foxes have missed his industry in the middle of the park either.
In fact, the decision to let him leave, in turn making a substantial profit on the midfielder, is looking more and more like a Shakespeare masterstroke, and one that only Leicester are truly benefitting from.
Leicester fans… what do you think? Let us know!
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