What would Chelsea be getting in the signing of Danny Drinkwater?
Drinkwater is rumoured to be one of Chelsea manager Antonio Conte's targets, with transfer deadline day fast approaching.
Danny Drinkwater has been an instrumental figure in Leicester City's rise to Premier League football and glory. Joining the Foxes in 2012 under manager Nigel Pearson, he played a hand in the club's 2013/14 Championship and 2015/16 Premier League title wins while also helping Leicester reach the UEFA Champions League quarter-finals in 2016/17.
But what does he add to the Chelsea midfield?
Style of play
Danny Drinkwater is a technically minded centre-midfielder, who is always looking to create an opening. He boasts excellent passing ability and good awareness of his surroundings.
The former Manchester United academy product is most familiar playing in the 4-4-2 formation. Over a number of years under Nigel Pearson, Claudio Ranieri and now Craig Shakespeare, Drinkwater has been involved in the 4-4-2 shape.
The beauty of Drinkwater is his all-round game - whilst he is a creator, he is also strong in the tackle and is useful in defensive situations.
According to 2016/17 statistics, Drinkwater made 266 recoveries, averaged 60 passes per match, and completed 84 tackles throughout the course of the season; 64% of those tackles being successful.
Offering very good vision offensively, the Leicester man always looks to thread through striker Jamie Vardy. Whilst he likes to thread balls through centrally, he also likes to bring the wide men into the game too, frequently spraying balls out to the flanks.
It's this versatility and strength in both defence and attack which makes him a valuable asset for Craig Shakespeare, who will be wanting to keep his midfield lynchpin at the King Power Stadium. He is an engine in the middle of the park, continually working hard to recover loose balls and get things moving in attack.
At Leicester, Drinkwater pulls the strings in centre midfield, but this can be a double-edged sword in some respects. When Drinkwater plays well, Leicester play well, but when Drinkwater has an off day, Leicester's functioning as a side struggles as a result.
A lot of Leicester's good attacking play runs through Danny Drinkwater, and up until now, there has perhaps been too much of a heavy reliance on him. However, with the new addition of Vicente Iborra from Sevilla this summer, plus Matty James back in the fold, this might not be quite the case moving forward.
In the 2015/16 season, we saw the very best of what Drinkwater brings to the table. In the 2016/17 campaign, however, he wasn't able to match the high standards he had set.
Under Claudio Ranieri and then Craig Shakespeare, despite having moments of inspiring play, Drinkwater looked fatigued and lacklustre for the most part. Consistency has proven to be Drinkwater's downfall of late as he tends to have a terrific season one year, then the next hasn't (up until now) been able to replicate those sorts of quality performances.
On his day, Drinkwater can be one of the best passers of the ball you'll find around, but when not in this industrious form, his passing can become sloppy and will often give the ball away.
Pairing up with Kante again
A move to Chelsea would mean linking up again with N'Golo Kante whilst also helping to fill the gap left by Nemanja Matic.
In the 2015/16 Premier League season, Drinkwater formed a very strong pairing alongside N'Golo Kante in centre midfield. His potential move to Chelsea would mean linking up with Kante again, and this would only be a benefit for manager Antonio Conte, knowing that the pair has proven in the past they work together well and wouldn't need a long time to acclimatise to each other's game.
It is thought Conte wanted to bring Drinkwater to Stamford Bridge last summer coupled with the purchase of Kante, so he has been a previous target.
Last season, Chelsea became champions of England as Nemanja Matic formed an excellent partnership with N'Golo Kante. However, Matic has since left the Blues this summer to join Manchester United after Conte brought in Tiémoué Bakayoko and now is looking to add more depth to the team with Champions League football knocking on the doors.
The addition of Drinkwater as an option in centre midfield would certainly strengthen and help cushion the blow of Matic's departure.
One question which, however, does arise is why Drinkwater would want to leave regular game time at Leicester, for not necessarily being guaranteed the similar sort of game time at Chelsea.
But Chelsea don't exactly have a wealth of midfielders in this area, especially given the recent departure of Nathaniel Chalobah. This could be a good opportunity for Drinkwater to go on to bigger things, maybe even bigger success.
Having already had a taste of European football with Leicester City, and a Premier League title win, Drinkwater will see the possibility of those two things happening again, more likely at Chelsea.
By Chelsea signing Danny Drinkwater, they would be signing a player proven in the division. The 27-year-old is coming into his prime and has played in the Premier League for three seasons now.
Although he may not necessarily excite the Chelsea fanbase, Drinkwater ticks many boxes in terms of an all-round player and is a signing who would make sound sense for the Blues.