0 apps since 2018, 4 loan moves, contract up in July – 32 y/o finally leaving Chelsea [Opinion]

Chelsea’s Stamford Bridge stadium by Ank kumar, CC BY-SA 4.0 , via Wikimedia Commons

Danny Drinkwater could finally be on his way out of Chelsea after a hellish five years at Stamford Bridge. The 32-year-old is out of contract this summer and isn’t likely to put pen to paper on an extension as he’s been surplus to requirements since 2018.

No clubs were willing to sign Drinkwater permanently last summer, so Chelsea could only loan him out again and have some of his wages taken care of. He’ll soon be released on a free transfer and will be remembered as one of the Blues’ worst signings.

Drinkwater joined Chelsea on a five-year deal from Leicester City in 2017 and has gone on to make 23 appearances in all competitions, scoring one goal. The England international has amassed just 521 minutes of Premier League football for the West Londoners and hasn’t featured since August 2018’s Community Shield defeat to Manchester City.

Antonio Conte dropped Drinkwater after his debut season and he remained out in the cold under Maurizio Sarri, Frank Lampard and Thomas Tuchel. Krishan Davis and Graeme Bailey of 90min predict his exit is coming in June, as there’s no chance of a new deal on the horizon.

The only way Drinkwater could get competitive football was from loan moves, and he spent time at Burnley (August 2019 – January 2020), Aston Villa (January 2020 – June 2020) and Kasimpasa (January 2021 – June 2021) without setting the place alight.

The 32-year-old is currently on loan at Reading (August 2021 – present) and has featured in 31/38 games this season, so he’s faring a lot better in the Championship. Davis and Bailey believe the Royals will sign Drinkwater on a permanent deal this summer, so his future may lie in the second tier.

Off-the-field problems played their part in the Englishman’s demise, but it does appear he’s back enjoying his football. A permanent departure for Chelsea would suit all parties.