Danny Drinkwater: From hero to zero
(Photo: Getty Images/Catherine Ivill)

Danny Drinkwater's loan move to Burnley in the latest transfer window momentarily ends his rotten run as a Chelsea player.

Sean Dyche has taken a risk on a man who did not feature in a single minute of competitive action last season for the Blues; on the flip side, Dyche has also acquired a Premier League winner amongst his ranks, a rarity within the Burnley set up.

Ironically enough, Drinkwater switched to Stamford Bridge on deadline day in 2017- fast forward two years and he has been shuffled around in similar manner. When did the glass become half empty for Drinkwater, and can it become half full with a spell as a Claret?

Dreams become harsh reality

The best place to start is August '17, as Drinkwater became the sixth summer signing Antonio Conte's second reign in charge, along with other future failures such as Tiemoue Bakayoko, Alvaro Morata and Davide Zappacosta.

His arrival could hardly be argued with, having formulated a handsome CV with his former employers, Leicester City. He appeared in 35 games as the fabled Foxes shocked the footballing universe by claiming the Premier League title against all odds (5000/1 in fact) with Drinkwater's contribution became vital for their counter attacking style of play.

Leicester did not learn their lesson about overachieving, as next season they entered the Champions League- a quarter final defeat to European heavyweights Athletico Madrid would end the fairy-tale but left a lasting memory on the fabric of football. Drinkwater was again a crucial cog in their crazy adventure, and he was not content with the stardom ending there.

In swept Chelsea, offering a lucrative £35 million, ending his five-year tie in Leicestershire. Almost most as soon as his Blues journey kicked into gear, the wheels began to come loose.

A thigh injury halted his debut until October, starting against Everton in the last 16 of the EFL Carabao Cup. His first league start came another month down the line, so his breakthrough into the squad was a slow burner. In all, he made 22 appearances and collected an FA Cup winner medal yet did not feature in the final against his old club Manchester United, typically due to injury.

If he were to know what lay around the corner, silverware and a handful of matches looked like a gift. Maurizio Sarri took over from his fellow Italian and signalled Drinkwater's downfall by freezing him out of the team- the Community Shield would be the only sighting of this forgotten figure, as he was relegated to the treatment table and junior sides. 

Clarets came calling

Sarri was soon sent on his way back to Italy and a glimmer of hope came over the horizon for Drinkwater, as fellow Englishmen Frank Lampard returned to Chelsea as their new boss. 

His chances were still slim at regaining his position as a regular, especially with the likes of N'Golo Kante, Jorginho, Ross Barkley and Ruben Loftus-Cheek all above him in the pecking order.

And it was clear Lampard was not in the loving mood, playing him in just three of Chelsea's seven pre-season tour ties as the manager had one eye on offloading the 29-year-old.

This is when Burnley stepped in, offering him a short-team loan deal in an attempt to reproduce the quality that captured Chelsea's interest. 

He told the Burnley website: "It was a bit of a complicated time at Chelsea, but I see this as a positive move and I’m looking forward to getting going."

Unfortunately it’s not happened for me at Chelsea, but you have to go with the flow. I think now the target is to get to a level where the manager is happy with my fitness and keep moving forward and working hard."

Breaking into Burnley

The real question now surrounding his move is whether he can remain fit and make a meaningful impact upon a tight nit, well organised assemble. 

Drinkwater enters Dyche's dressing him knowing he once again has to fight for the central midfield role, coming up against Jack Cork, Ashley Westwood, Jeff Hendricks and Steven Defour. Cork and Burnley’s Player of the Year Westwood formed a strong partnership in the middle of the park which Dyche would be foolish to break up.

However, both are similar in their set of skills and Burnley have often been wanting more creativity from the men behind the strikers. This is where Defour was brought in, yet the Belgian only played in six league fixtures last campaign, five of which were defeats. Drinkwater has an eye for a pass, collecting seven assists in 2015/16 and would add an extra dimension to Dyche's mid drift. 

His energy and desire cannot be faulted, a characteristic that Dyche will not have missed and if he can stay clear of injury, Drinkwater may just have found his lifeline. 

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