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Reports: Chelsea eye Premier League winner as Nemanja Matic replacement

5.10K   //    03 Aug 2017, 22:20 IST

Antonio Conte during a pre-season game against Inter Milan

What's the story?

Chelsea are looking to sign Leicester City midfielder Danny Drinkwater as a replacement for Nemanja Matic who joined rivals Manchester United, according to Sky Sports. Manager Antonio Conte is looking to add depth to his team's midfield and the Premier League winner's industry provides him with an interesting option.

In case you didn't know...

Drinkwater was an integral part of the midfield which was responsible for winning Leicester City the Premier League title back in 2015-16. The England international built a telepathic understanding with the then Leicester midfielder N'Golo Kanté, which was the bedrock for their wonderful campaign.

Last season though, the 27-year-old struggled with niggles and didn't have the impact expected of him.

The heart of the matter

There is no doubt that replacing Matic with Drinkwater is not too exciting a prospect but with the duo of Kanté and Tiémoué Bakayoko likely to start, Conte needs a trusted lieutenant in case he needs to rest one of the two.

Danny provides Premier League know-how and has different qualities than the players that are on the books of the reigning Premier League champions. His passing ability is quite underrated, and if given the opportunity he might happily jump ship, as Leicester City aren't really expected to challenge for major honours this season.

What's next?

The 3-4-3 formation which Chelsea employed last season needs two defensive midfielders, and Cesc Fabregas, Kanté and Bakayoko undoubtedly fill the space. However, the Blues will be expected to challenge on all fronts this season which means four different competitions.

Given the former Italy manager has opted to sell Nathaniel Chalobah (£5m, Watford) and loan out Ruben Loftus-Cheek (Crystal Palace), he will be short on numbers if one (or more) among the three gets injured during the season. Drinkwater is the perfect answer to that problem, and Leicester City could part with his services given the resurgence of Matty James.

Author's take

In the glitz and glamour of the Premier League, a move for Drinkwater might be frowned upon, but make no mistake the England midfielder has the potential to be a perfect squad player. The former Manchester United man might be a shrewd buy given the Premier League season starts in two weeks, and there might not be time for Chelsea to get an upgrade.

Also, the money they might save if they buy the England international can be invested in procuring wingbacks. In short, not a lot can go wrong.

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