He's back. He's actually back.
Danny Drinkwater has left Burnley after his six-month loan with the Clarets expired, meaning he is Chelsea's £35m problem once again. Sigh.
However, there is something almost poetic about the fact that he returns in the same January in which Chelsea are free to sign players once more. He will waltz through the Stamford Bridge doors to remind the Blues of the perils of poorly planned transfers.
The issue has always been clear - why did Chelsea bother signing him?
He arrived at the club in 2017 for a whopping £35m, yet was almost always on the bench or left out entirely for the majority of his debut season. There was clearly not a place for him at the club that year, and it was clear Antonio Conte did not want him.
The 2018/19 campaign was even worse as then boss Maurizio Sarri openly confessed that there was no point in Drinkwater staying at the club all year. But the Englishman did stay, pocketing his weekly wage without offering anything to Chelsea.
What was the point? How did anyone at Chelsea think this was a good idea?
Drinkwater represents everything which has been wrong with Chelsea's recent recruitment strategy. It has been more of a 'buy now, ask questions later' kind of approach, which seems to fail every single time.
Now Chelsea find themselves struggling to offload him, because other clubs are actually thinking about the positives and negatives of signing him - something which you can almost guarantee Chelsea wish they did back in 2017.
His return to Stamford Bridge needs to serve as a reminder to the Blues hierarchy that there simply has to be some form of strategy and planning for the transfer window.
Since the start of the 2018/19 Premier League season, Danny Drinkwater has played 59 minutes in the competition.— Squawka Football (@Squawka) January 3, 2020
Since signing for Chelsea for £35m in 2017/18, he has played 522 minutes. 😳 pic.twitter.com/DeDXB2XOq1
This January, Chelsea cannot afford to start throwing money around for average players. If somebody is not going to improve the current squad, then they simply cannot be signed. It's as easy as that.
With that message, it looks like Chelsea have learned a £35m lesson from the Drinkwater travesty. However, given their track record, fans won't be relaxed until the transfer window is closed and no deadwood has been signed.
This is a new era under Frank Lampard. Things are done differently now. The integration of youth is one of the biggest examples of that, but logical recruitment is just as important.
No more Drinkwaters. Please.
Source : 90min