This article forms part of our Total Duds feature series, which is where Football Transfer Tavern takes a look at a player who has disappointed since being signed, using statistical figures and statements from pundits to illustrate how ill-judged the transfer decision has been.
When Chelsea signed Danny Drinkwater from Leicester City for a reported £35m on deadline day in the 2017 summer transfer window, it would have been likely a number of questions regarding the midfielder would have been asked.
Perhaps, he was brought to Stamford Bridge to provide cover following the departure of Nemanja Matic to Manchester United a day earlier? Maybe, he was signed to play alongside former Foxes team-mate N’Golo Kante and help bring that partnership from the King Power Stadium to SW6?
Well, neither really appeared to come to fruition for Chelsea, or indeed, Drinkwater himself. In fact, the three-time England international became somewhat a forgotten, and even unwanted, man in west London over the last two years.
His first season hardly paid dividends as he featured just 22 times across all competitions for Antonio Conte, whilst the winter arrival of Ross Barkley from Everton did not help his chances either for more regular first-team action.
In fact, once Maurizio Sarri took over the helm in SW6, Drinkwater was handed just the one solitary appearance in the new manager’s first competitive match as manager and then decided to leave him out altogether – stating that the player was not in his plans moving forward (The Guardian).
Moving forward a further 12 months and the managerial wheel was spinning once again at Stamford Bridge, which brought Frank Lampard into the fold, however that did not appear to bring the once £35m man anywhere closer to the first-team.
Instead, the ex-Leicester City man was offered his chance to restart his career whilst on loan at Burnley, although an off-the-field issue and subsequent injury meant his time at Turf Moor has yet to really get started, as he has made just the one appearance so far (TransferMarkt).
The Sun detailed in an article just how ‘sad’ the decline the 29-year-old had taken during his time at the Blues was and things simply do not appear to be getting any better.
Chelsea wasted £35m on a player that rarely ever featured and, perhaps, was never really going to feature considering they had the likes of Cesc Fabregas, Kante and Tiemoue Bakayoko all competing for a spot in Conte’s side prior to Barkley’s arrival the following January.
Chelsea fans, what did you make of the club’s decision to sign Drinkwater in the first place? Let us know below!
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