New Chelsea signing Danny Drinkwater is relishing reforming his title-winning partnership with N’Golo Kante.
The England international moved to the Premier League champions on deadline day in a deal worth £30million.
Drinkwater and Kante teamed up to great effect during Leicester’s 2015/16 title-winning campaign but he faces a fight to break into Antonio Conte’s starting line-up.
Fellow new recruit Tiemoue Bakayoko made his first start in last month’s 2-1 win over Tottenham at Wembley, while Cesc Fabregas starred alongside Kante in the subsequent victory over Everton.
Drinkwater will be hoping to the avoid the tag of ‘panic buy’ as the season progresses but he is confident he can star alongside Kante.
‘I played with N’Golo for a season and there was not really a game I didn’t enjoy playing next to him,’ said Drinkwater.
I am looking forward hopefully to carrying on where we left off.
‘I think we hit it off from the first game and after that we did not really lose. He is a top lad, the most down-to-earth person you will meet.
‘I can’t see him changing much and I am looking forward to meeting him again.’
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Chelsea looked set to land Ross Barkley on deadline day before something went very, very wrong for the Blues and the player, and while the majority of people seem to think the player himself left after a medical, deciding he no longer wanted to join the club, there could be another side to the story.
Dean Ashton claimed that the player himself may not have decided to cancel the deal – but that Chelsea may have presented him with a more attractive option instead – and that a move will come off in January.
Ashton said on Sky Sports: “I think the medical probably was going ahead.
“They’ve looked at the injury he’s got and they’ve said it’s probably going to be late November (until he’s fit).
“It could be as simple as saying ‘let’s leave it for now. If we can buy you for less in January, that gives you more wages’.
“I’d be happy with that if I was Ross. You know you’re not going to play until Christmas properly. It makes no difference really.
“I can’t going all the way down to London, agreeing medical terms, maybe to start a medical, I can’t imagine you suddenly think ‘no, I don’t fancy this’.
“I can’t see that, I think something’s changed, either between the medical or between the price, the wages.”
One thing that could well happen for Chelsea is a heavy spending January transfer window.
The Blues will be looking to offload Diego Costa, and there is the real chance that they could want to bring in a forward as well, with the likes of Fernando Llorente opting to go elsewhere despite interest from Chelsea during this window.
A move for Barkley when his contact is in the last six months may well be the case – and Chelsea may even be waiting to see if Michy Batshuayi manages to impress Antonio Conte before deciding if he could be involved in a makeweight loan deal.