Maurizio Sarri has told Danny Drinkwater he has no future at Chelsea and has advised the player to join a Championship club on loan or join a European side before the end of the month.
The title-winning midfielder joined Chelsea in a £35million deal last summer, but had a dismal season, starting only five league games.
And with Jorginho, N’Golo Kante, Mateo Kovacic, Cesc Fabregas, Ross Barkley and Ruben Loftus-Cheek all ahead of him in the midfield ranks, Drinkwater has been told he has no future at Stamford Bridge, according to the Daily Express.
The 28-year-old was linked with moves to his former club Leicester, West Ham and Crystal Palace last week, but with the clock against all three sides, a deadline day move never materialised.
But now Drinkwater has been left in limbo at Stamford Bridge as a result of the Premier League transfer window closing early – and must now choose to either join a Championship side – most likely on loan – or move to a European side on either a temporary or permanent basis.
On Monday, France midfielder Tiemoue Bakayoko also fell victim to the Sarri revolution when he joined AC Milan on a year’s loan with a view to a permanent transfer. Chelsea, however, had to grease the wheels on the deal by agreeing to part fund the player’s salary during his initial season away – and they may have to come up with a similar arrangement for Drinkwater.
Former Blues winger Pat Nevin believes with Kante ‘undroppable’, the other players in Sarri’s ranks face a tough task each week in trying to get into the starting XI.
“Talking of Ross Barkley, it brings back the discussion of what will be the manager’s first-choice midfield three as the season develops?,” Nevin wrote for Chelsea’s official website.
“N’Golo Kante, obviously, is undroppable in any shape or form and Jorginho is the gaffer’s man, so should get an initial run in the team.
“That leaves Cesc Fabregas, Barkley, Ruben Loftus-Cheek, Danny Drinkwater and now Mateo Kovacic all fighting for that one spot.
“There is even the possibility that if you play [Eden] Hazard and Willian wide up front, Pedro might stick his oar in for that particular berth.
“I mentioned this last week and have been ruminating on it ever since.
“The short answer is that the manager can adapt and change for different games and the different styles of teams we are up against.
“Whether it is home or away might also have an effect.”