Danny Drinkwater has gone from Premier League champion to Chelsea reject in three years, and the only way to save his career is to leave.
In 2015/2016, a midfield of Drinkwater and Kante dominated the Premier League with their energy and desire, but only one of those have made their move down to Stamford Bridge worthwhile. Kante has started 69 Premier League games over two seasons whereas Drinkwater has only made 12 starts.
He signed for £35m in the summer of 2016 after forcing a move away from Leicester who sacked Claudio Ranieri just nine months after the biggest title shock in its 26-year history. However, it’s already clear that staying at Stamford Bridge would stagnate his career.
Chelsea have an exciting new manager in Maurizio Sarri and midfielders are key to his Guardiola-like style. The problem is, Sarri has Kante and has now brought Jorginho with him from Napoli to take control of possession.
So where does this leave Drinkwater? Well, on the bench until less important competitions like the Europa League and the League Cup come around. That’s a big waste for a 28-year-old who would be accepted into most Premier League sides’ starting 11.
Drinkwater’s situation is another example of a player who has the belief they’re good enough, which he has every right to do, but the gamble just doesn’t pay off, whether that’s because of their ability, the manager’s system or a bad dose of luck.
The ex-United youngster couldn’t break into the Chelsea side when Conte was playing 3-5-2, and Sarri’s preference of a 4-3-3 makes the fight for those midfield spots even more fierce.
The fact both managers have overlooked him now suggests he’s in over his head, and the quicker he cuts his losses and leaves, the longer he has to salvage the best few years of his career.