This article is part of Football League World’s ‘The Verdict‘ series, which provides personal opinions from the FLW writers regarding the latest breaking news, teams, players, managers, potential signings and more…
Championship side Reading are engaging in negotiations with Chelsea over a potential loan move for Danny Drinkwater before the end of the window, as per the Reading Chronicle.
Despite his rise to the top of English football with Leicester City and the Blues, the 31-year-old has a considerable amount of experience playing in the second tier, going out on loan several times after graduating from Manchester United’s academy and then signing permanently for the Foxes in 2012.
He was a regular player at the King Power Stadium, helping them to win promotion from the Championship during the 2013/14 season before doing the unthinkable in the 2015/16 campaign and winning the Premier League title.
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Just a year later, he moved on to Chelsea for a sizeable £35m fee after submitting a transfer request. However, this move hasn’t worked out as first hoped with the midfielder only making 23 competitive appearances for the west London side in four years and being shipped out on loan three times.
He would join up with a Reading side currently struggling in the Championship with fellow central midfielder Josh Laurent being linked with a move away from the Select Car Leasing Stadium this summer (August 2nd, 13:35).
Drinkwater could potentially be coming in as his replacement, although there has been no concrete news on Laurent’s future recently.
Ahead of the 31-year-old’s potential move to Berkshire, we asked three of our writers whether they thought he would be a good signing for the Royals and if they believe he would be a much-needed acquisition.
Danny Drinkwater needs a fresh start to rejuvenate his stuttering career and a move to Reading could be just what he is looking for.
The Royals have had to be clever with their recruitment this season and I think this would be a real coup.
He is a Premier League title winner and knows what it takes to build a winning mentality.
It’s a player that the Royals need to supplement their midfield options and I think this would be a very shrewd addition.
The main challenge facing Drinkwater will be to prove his fitness and show that he can still perform at a good level.
Whilst there’s no doubting Drinkwater’s abilities on the pitch, Reading need players to come in and make an impact immediately and I’m not sure that the Chelsea man could do that.
The three-cap England international hasn’t played a league match for the Blues since 2018 and his loan spells to the likes of Burnley, Aston Villa and Kasimpasa haven’t been very fruitful either.
You’d have to question whether the 31-year-old is fully fit right now and despite the Royals’ poor form to start the season, will he immediately displace Andy Rinomhota or Josh Laurent?
Reading do have a few youngsters in midfield who could be options under Veljko Paunovic but Drinkwater would bring some top-level experience that the club may indeed be lacking, so if they don’t have to pay much of his wages then this could be a good addition.
The big challenge though will be to keep him fully fit should they get a deal over the line and get as many matches out of Drinkwater as possible because he could be a classy player in the Championship if his head is screwed on.
This is a potential signing that has the potential to work for the Royals, but he hasn’t played enough football over the last few years to fully suggest that this would be a good player for Reading to pursue.
Drinkwater’s relentless work ethic, and ability to keep the ball ticking in the middle of the park, would make him an exciting option for Veljko Paunovic’s side, but the fact he hasn’t been playing consistently in recent seasons means that it is difficult to judge whether or not he would be as effective.
The 31-year-old has proved himself on the biggest of stages, but football evolves. Taking him on would be a risk, but one that could actually work out.
It is definitely a potential signing that has caught me by surprise and I can only see it going one of two ways, extremely well, or very badly.